Laser Pointer Helps Parkinson’s Patients Take Next Step
- University Of Rochester
- A patient’s discovery that an everyday laser pointer helps him walk may point the way toward an effective remedy for a common and frustrating symptom of Parkinson’s disease.
A patient’s discovery that an everyday laser pointer helps him walk may point the way toward an effective remedy for a common and frustrating symptom of Parkinson’s disease. The patient’s physicians at the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital are presenting the results of a study involving just a few patients at this week’s meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Toronto. While the small size of the study should make patients and doctors pause before assuming the treatment will help, the authors say neurologists would do well to have a laser pointer handy to let patients give it a try.
The simple device seems to help patients overcome freezing episodes, where patients’ legs literally freeze in place as they’re trying to walk. For about 30 percent of Parkinson’s patients, this “sudden transient freezing” is one of the most difficult symptoms of the disease. The episodes can last for seconds or even several minutes. Some patients experience only momentary hesitation occasionally, while for others the episodes occur dozens of times a day, making almost any simple movement from room to room a laborious task taking several minutes.
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How We’re Speeding Up The Search For A Cure
We believe that new and better treatments are possible in years, not decades. We have a clear strategy for making this happen. This includes:
- backing the best and brightest minds to unlock scientific discoveries that will lead to new treatments and a cure
- accelerating the development and testing of new treatments through our Virtual Biotech
- collaborating internationally to make clinical trials faster, cheaper and more likely to succeed through the Critical Path for Parkinson’s
Alternative Treatment For Parkinsons Disease Is It Effective
The effectiveness of alternative treatments for Parkinsons disease has been proved modern scientific studies and empirical evidence which has been gathered for centuries.
One can think that a patient who has Pakinsons disease has only motor problems, but this is not the case. In addition to motor symptoms, Parkinsons disease can include such symptoms as depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, cognition problems and sexual dysfunction. The goal of alternative treatment is to help with motor problems as well as dealing with other symptoms.
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What We Know So Far
- We’ve uncovered clues to the causes and genetic involvement in Parkinson’s.
- We’re figuring out the chain of events that leads to the damage and loss of brain cells.
- We’re working to advance new treatments and therapies.
- We’re exploring repurposing drugs to help manage some of the more distressing symptoms, like hallucinations and falls.
- And we know that, although people with Parkinson’s share symptoms, each person’s experience of the condition and response to treatment is different.
Now, the science is ready for us to develop the new treatments and cure that people with Parkinson’s so desperately need.
Research takes time but if you have Parkinsons, you need better treatments now. Thats why weve launched the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech to speed up the most promising potential treatments. The more we can invest, the sooner we’ll get there.
What New Treatments Are Being Developed
Thanks to the progress we’ve already made, new treatments are being tested in clinical trials that have the potential to slow, stop or even reverse Parkinson’s.
- stem cell therapies, which aim to use healthy, living cells to replace or repair the damage in the brains of people with Parkinson’s
- gene therapies, which use the power of genetics to reprogramme cells and change their behaviour to help them stay healthy and work better for longer
- growth factors , which are naturally occurring molecules that support the growth, development and survival of brain cells.
And we’re developing treatments that aim to improve life with the condition, including new drugs that can reduce dyskinesia.
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Aids Daytime Sleepiness And Other Sleep Disorders
Humans rest and wake based on a daily cycle called the circadian rhythm. Both light and melatonin play a role in the regularity of the cycle. Many people with PD suffer from sleep disturbances. It is thought that NIr may play a role in improving healthy sleep patterns.3
People with Parkinsons often experience excessive daytime sleepiness, general fatigue, nighttime sleep disturbances, and depression all of which can affect healthy sleep and the circadian rhythm. According to research reported in the February 2017 JAMA Neurology Journal, light therapy significantly reduced daytime sleepiness, improved sleep quality, decreased overnight awakenings, improved daytime alertness and activity level, and improved motor symptoms in people with Parkinsons.6
Different kinds of light therapy have been used effectively for other sleep, psychiatric, and medical conditions for decades. NIr continues to be studied in the clinical setting in order to determine how it can best be applied in treating Parkinsons and other medical conditions. Long-term, large scale controlled studies will help to better evaluate the efficacy of NIr as way to mitigate symptoms as well as possibly slow or limit or reverse disease progression.
Laser Pointer Helps Parkinsons Patients Take Next Step
- University Of Rochester
- A patients discovery that an everyday laser pointer helps him walk may point the way toward an effective remedy for a common and frustrating symptom of Parkinsons disease.
A patients discovery that an everyday laser pointer helps him walk may point the way toward an effective remedy for a common and frustrating symptom of Parkinsons disease. The patients physicians at the University of Rochesters Strong Memorial Hospital are presenting the results of a study involving just a few patients at this weeks meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Toronto. While the small size of the study should make patients and doctors pause before assuming the treatment will help, the authors say neurologists would do well to have a laser pointer handy to let patients give it a try.
The simple device seems to help patients overcome freezing episodes, where patients legs literally freeze in place as theyre trying to walk. For about 30 percent of Parkinsons patients, this sudden transient freezing is one of the most difficult symptoms of the disease. The episodes can last for seconds or even several minutes. Some patients experience only momentary hesitation occasionally, while for others the episodes occur dozens of times a day, making almost any simple movement from room to room a laborious task taking several minutes.
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Regulatory Approval & Reimbursement
The Exablate system manufactured by Insightec is approved in Europe and in the US for treating tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease. In November 2021, it also earned approval in the US for treating additional movement disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease, including mobility, rigidity and dyskinesia. We recommend that patients talk with the treatment site for questions about insurance coverage under Medicare, as some treatment sites are now being reimbursed by Medicare. Most commercial companies are not currently covering this procedure.
Near Infrared Chronic Intracranial Illumination For Neuroprotection In Parkinson’s Disease
Objective/Rationale: The treatment of Parkinsons Disease is based on medication and on surgical procedures. These therapies alleviate symptoms but do not change the evolution of the disease, which is a progressive degeneration of the neurons producing dopamine in the brain. This degeneration is in part due to an abnormal functioning of the mitochondrias that produce energy in these neurons. There is evidence that infrared light can counteract this mitochondrial dysfunction.
Project Description: We will develop a prototype to deliver continuously into patients brains infrared light to slow down the loss of these dopaminergic neurons by improving their mitochondrial function. Human application requires checking the safety of the invented devices in laboratory pre-clinical models. An implantable prototype is being assembled from parts already made by industrial companies for deep brain stimulation. It will be implanted in models to check the safety of the surgical procedure and the long term tolerance of this device. The proof of principle of the therapeutic effect also has to be made. We will implant the device in models rendered parkinsonian by administration of the neurotoxin MPTP and observe the evolution of this parkinsonian syndrome under the effect of this intracranial illumination.
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The Human Light Trials Begin
Three years on, Mr Burr and the other Tasmanians using their own light treatment have inspired an Australia-wide proof-of-concept clinical trial to test whether the lights are actually making a long-term difference to peoples health or whether its just a placebo effect.
The trial, run by The University of Sydney School of Medicine and Parkinsons SA, involves people from Brisbane, South Australia and Sydney.
Some participants are using placebo lights, while others are using red and near-infrared lights on their heads and stomachs.
Catherine Hamilton, a retired Tasmanian specialist occupational physician who specialises in photobiomodulation and helped Mr Burr with his light treatment, is developing helmets with her electronics expert friend Ron Brown for Sydney trial participants.
For people with Parkinsons the lights are giving them an improvement now, right now, theyre not having to wait 10 years for a pill, Dr Hamilton said.
Ann Liebert from the University of Sydney, who is co-ordinating the trial, said she had worked with light therapy for 10 years and had seen many positive results.
We have medical evidence and case study evidence, so nows the time to look at experimental evidence at a higher level, she said.
Professor Simon Lewis, a neurologist who specialises in Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease, said people with Parkinsons experienced progressive and relentless brain cell death.
What Is Parkinsons Disease
It can be defined as a progressive neurological disorder in which brain cells weaken or die. Parkinsons disease occurs due to death/impairment of neurons in the brain that produce dopamine , however it is still unknown why these cells die.
Classic symptoms of Parkinsons disease include negative changes in the behaviour and movement of an individual: symptoms are negligible at first and increase gradually. With the passage of time walking and speech are negatively affected along with other possible symptoms.
Men are more susceptible to Parkinsons disease than women, however women can also be affected. Majority of the time age is the highest risk factor of Parkinsons disease, symptoms of most patients tend to develop around 60, however a minority experienced symptoms before the age of 50.
Treatment can help in providing relief from symptoms, however it can never be fully cured. Medication is normally the first line treatment of Parkinsons disease. Alternative treatment for Parkinsons include surgery and therapies such as physiotherapy and laser therapy.
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What Is Brain Surgery For Parkinsons Disease
Brain surgery for Parkinsons disease is done to balance the activity in certain areas of the brain that control physical movement. The surgery can involve placement of a stimulator device or creation of a surgical lesion in the brain.
The areas of the brain that are affected by Parkinsons disease are very small, and they are located deep within the brain. These procedures are done with precision and often with imaging guidance so your surgeon can see the structure of your brain with real-time pictures during the surgery.
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The Potential Of Light Therapy In Parkinson’s Disease
Accepted for publication 10 December 2013
18 February 2014Volume 2014:4Pages 114
The current gold standard treatments for Parkinsons disease are very effective at attenuating the motor signs, at least initially. However, they do not reliably slow the progression of the disease neurons continue to die during the course of treatment. The discovery of new therapeutic approaches that offer neuroprotection against parkinsonian insult is therefore paramount. In this context, several recent studies in animal models of Parkinsons disease, as well as other models of disease , have reported that red to infrared light therapy can be neuroprotective. There is real potential for the development of light therapy as a treatment option for Parkinsons disease patients one that slows the ongoing neuronal death and progression of the disease.
Overview of Parkinsons disease
Current therapies for Parkinsons disease
Dopamine drug therapy
In general, these drug treatments have very good early symptomatic effects, but their longer-term neuroprotective or disease modifying effects are far from clear. For example, although drugs such as selegiline and rasagiline have been tested as putative neuroprotective agents in clinical trials, their ability to actually stop neuronal death and slow the pathology of the disease has yet to be demonstrated.26
Putative neuroprotective treatments
What is light therapy and how does it offer neuroprotection?
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Limitations Side Effects And Long
Baltuch cautions, however, that focused ultrasound thalamotomy is not without risk or side effects, there are limitations, and there are not yet long-term studies.
- Side effects: Side effects include difficulty walking or unsteadiness following the procedure, along with tingling or numbness in the lips or fingers. Most issues resolve within months.
- Limitations: Currently, only one side of the body can be treated. Earlier forms of surgical ablation sometimes resulted in speech difficulties, so for now, the FDA has limited treatment to one side of the brain. The side that controls the patients dominant hand is usually targeted. INSIGHTEC is exploring bilateral treatment in medical centers outside the U.S. In addition, while treatment can reduce or eliminate tremors on one side of the body, it does not stop other symptoms of Parkinsons or slow disease progression.
- Long-term studies: Because five- and 10-year studies have not yet been conducted, We dont yet long-term effectiveness of focused ultrasound thalamotomy for tremor-dominant Parkinsons and essential tremor, says Baltuch. The published data show that this may not be as effective in tremor reduction as, potentially, deep brain stimulation can. And, although its non-invasive, youre still making a thermal lesion .
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Scalp Laser Acupuncture And Acupuncture By Leds Exposure
Scalp laser acupuncture and LED scalp acupuncture are new methods of alternative treatment for Parkinsons disease. This method uses non-thermal and non-ionizing light in the visible and infrared spectrum.
Oriental medicine and modern science have different explanations of the positive effect of this treatment for patients who have Parkinsons disease
Oriental medicine explanation
The picture above shows the new microsystem in oriental medicine that identifies and recognises points and lines on the head. These points can be stimulated with different source of light which stimulate these points in much the same way as needles or pressure can without being physically invasive.
When scalp acupuncture uses light instead of using needles, there are many benefits. Light can give the sort of energy which is perfect in chronic conditions and diseases or for older patients. In other words, patients with chronic diseases and older patients usually lack Qi energy. Additionally, laser or LED scalp acupuncture, uses natural frequencies as does scalp acupuncture with electrostimulation.
Modern scientific explanation
In recent years different light sources such as LEDs are becoming widely used for therapy, and a new term has now gained currency Photobiomodulation. Previously this therapy was usually called Low-Level Laser Therapy because only low energy lasers have been used.
Our clinic only uses equipment approved by Health Canada.
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Treatment Delivers Immediate Results
When the process is complete, tremors on the treated side of the body often completely disappear.
An online video demonstrates Baltuch performing the procedure on a patient with essential tremor. Before treatment the patient tries to bring a cup of water to his mouth, but his tremors prevent him from doing do. After the procedure, he is shown touching the tips of his two index fingers together, remarking, I couldnt do this an hour or so ago. He later brings a water cup directly to his lips with no tremor.
This has really been my second epiphany in medicine, says Baltuch. My first in this field was when we saw the early deep brain stimulation videos. Watching patients symptoms instantly disappear was like magic, he says. Witnessing patients discover their Parkinsons tremors have vanished following a procedure, is the same thing. When you see it, its phenomenal.
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Nir For Alzheimers Disease
The majority of the studies reporting beneficial effects of NIr treatment in Alzheimers disease or dementia have been in transgenic animal models, in particular those displaying -amyloid , or tau pathologies .1). In general, with either acute or more chronic NIr treatment, these studies have reported reductions in -amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles of hyperphosphorylated tau protein, inflammation and oxidative stress, together with increased ATP levels and improved overall mitochondrial function. In addition, NIr reduced the characteristic cognitive deficits associated with the CD1 and APP/PS1 transgenic mouse models. One in vitro study reported that, after internalization of -amyloid into human neuroblastoma cells, NIr treatment increased ATP levels and overall cell number, while reducing -amyloid aggregates .
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A Laser To Cure Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s Disease: Photo Therapy Could Erase Faulty Proteins Implicated In Neurodegenerative Conditions
Even outside science fiction, lasers may save the day. Researchers at Chalmers University in Sweden and Wroclaw University in Poland have determined that so-called photo therapy may effectively treat neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimers disease Parkinsons Disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Their findings may revolutionize therapeutic strategies for diseases currently considered incurable.
In current scholarship, most neurodegenerative conditions are thought to the be result of detrimental protein accumulations. Essentially, clumps of faulty proteins cause neuronal cell death, which leads to the debilitating symptoms associated with diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers. The new study, which is published in the journal Nature Photonics, sought to investigate whether light-based therapy can be used to remove these degenerative aggregations.
“Nobody has talked about using only light to treat these diseases until now, lead author Piotr Hanczyc said in a press release. This is a totally new approach and we believe that this might become a breakthrough in the research of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light.