NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Parkinson's treated with Victorian era device

Tuesday April 24, 2012

Will Parker

Science a Go Go - A 19th century "vibration chair" has been found by Rush University researchers to significantly improve some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The chair was designed by French anatomist Jean-Martin Charcot (pictured), who is often referred to as the father of modern day neurology. At the time, Charcot reported improvements in his patients, but he died before more complete evaluations could be completed. The Rush researchers set out to replicate his work to see if his claims hold true against modern scientific testing.

Charcot originally noted that his patients reported that during long carriage rides or train journeys, the uncomfortable or painful symptoms of Parkinson's disease seemed to disappear, and the relief lasted quite some time after the journey. Acting on these anecdotes, he developed a chair that mimicked the continuous jerking of a carriage or train.

For the modern day assessment, lead researcher Christopher G. Goetz randomly assigned 23 patients to either a vibrating chair or the same chair without vibration. During the treatment sessions, both groups of study participants listened to a relaxation CD of nature sounds. The study participants underwent daily treatment for a month. "We attempted to mimic Charcot's protocol with modern equipment in order to confirm or refute an historical observation," explained Goetz.

Reporting his findings in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, Goetz noted that the patients in the vibration group showed significant improvement in motor function after daily 30-minute treatments. However, motor function scores for the no vibration group also improved significantly.

"Our results confirm Charcot's observation of improvement in Parkinson's disease with chronic vibration treatment, but we did not find the effect specific to vibration," said Goetz. "Instead, our data suggest that auditory sensory stimulation with relaxation in a lounge chair or simply the participation in a research protocol has equivalent benefit as vibration on motor function."

Despite the indication that the effect is due to placebo or other nonspecific factors, Goetz says the findings are still of value. "Our results will allow clinicians to guide patients to at least one apparatus that is safe and associated with objective changes in parkinsonian impairment scores," he concluded.

http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20120323044649data_trunc_sys.shtml

Recent News

May 20 - Book Review: Aging in the Key of Humor
May 19 - Press Release: The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research Joins Multinational Critical Path for Parkinson's Consortium
May 19 - Congress reaches deal to overhaul chemical regulation
May 16 - Lifestyle: Why Parkinson's disease won't stop me rowing across the Pacific
May 16 - Many biomarkers for PD fail to inform on progression
May 10 - Parkinson's Cell Transplant Shows Good Reinnervation at 24 Years
May 7 - Growing art installation gathers stories of living with Parkinson's
May 5 - New technique can provide better cell transplants against Parkinson's disease
May 2 - What's Good For The Heart Is Good For The Brain
Apr 29 - Press Release: FDA approves first drug to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease
Apr 28 - Dopamine-making neurons can be chemically controlled in animal model of Parkinson's
Apr 25 - Lifestyle: Dating with Disease
Apr 25 - Scientific breakthrough in fight against Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
Apr 20 - Breakthrough Parkinson's disease blood test
Apr 15 - Living with Parkinson's
Apr 12 - Tissue biomarker for dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease
Apr 11 - Yoga for Every Body: Experts say yoga can ease pain and improve mobility for people with neurologic conditions
Apr 9 - Commonly prescribed Parkinson's drugs up risk of compulsive gambling, shopping, binge eating, hypersexuality
Apr 7 - Pfizer and IBM Launch Innovative Research Project to Transform Parkinson's Disease Care
Apr 7 - Parkinson's Drug Highly Effective for Resistant Depression