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Electric Stimulation Can Aid Parkinson’s Patients

A weak electric “noise” can adjust the balance and motor skills of patients with Parkinson’s disease, according to a study performed at Sahlgrenska Academy. Researchers working with NASA have developed a prototype of a portable electrical stimulation device that will be used in long-term studies of Parkinson’s patients in their homes.

In a study involving 10 Swedish Parkinson’s patients, participants received an active noise stimulation one day and nothing on another day, without knowing which days they received the stimulation. Results showed that patients’ balance and other symptoms improved on the days they received electrical stimulation. Balance improvement was more pronounced on days patients did not take any medication.

As part of a longer-term follow-up study, patients will wear a small electrical stimulator that can be carried in a pocket.