News ArchivesRead News
Parkinson's treated with Victorian era device
Tuesday April 24, 2012
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.
Recent NewsJul 7 - Parkinson’s Patients Have a Higher Risk of Developing Melanoma — and Vice Versa, Study Finds
Jun 27 - The rogue protein behind Parkinson’s disease may also protect your gut
Jun 26 - Do Statins Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease? Some Researchers Think So
Jun 22 - A Confused Immune System Could Be Behind Parkinson's Disease
Jun 21 - Predicting cognitive deficits in people with Parkinson’s disease
Jun 20 - Gym offers classes in noncontact boxing for Parkinson’s patients
Jun 19 - Human Limitations Could Prevent Us From Advancing in Science. AI Could Help.
Jun 13 - Brain Cell Transplants Are Being Tested Once Again For Parkinson's
Jun 12 - Smell Test May Sniff Out Oncoming Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
Jun 8 - Smartphones Track Motor Function in Parkinson's Disease
Jun 8 - GKC Enrolls First Patient in Personal KinetiGraph Trial as Part of NPF’s Parkinson’s Outcomes Project
Jun 8 - Low-fat dairy intake may raise Parkinson's risk
Jun 6 - Patient Voices: Parkinson's Disease
Jun 1 - World-First Trials Have Been Launched to Treat Parkinson's And Blindness With Embryonic Stem Cells
Jun 1 - LIFE Shared This Remarkable Parkinson's Disease Story in 1959.
May 24 - Survival Rates Differ Widely in Parkinson's, MSA, Lewy Bodies
May 22 - Discovery may offer hope to Parkinson's disease patients
May 15 - Study offers answers on life expectancy for people with Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia
May 5 - Parkinson's in a dish: Researchers reproduce brain oscillations
May 5 - ‘Hunger Hormone’ Could Help Treat Parkinson’s Disease