The early-stage study, by researchers at Imperial College London, suggests the treatment boosts the number and strength of brain cell 'batteries' called mitochondria. These batteries in turn provide power to brain cells, which may help reduce problems with movement and tremors.
Deep brain stimulation is a treatment used for late-stage Parkinson's disease that involves surgically implanting thin wires, called electrodes, into the brain. These wires deliver small electric pulses into the head, which helps reduce slow movement, tremor and stiffness.
Scientists - Treatment - Patients - Year - Parkinson
However scientists have been unsure how the treatment, which is given to around 300 patients a year, tackles Parkinson's symptoms.
Dr Kambiz Alavian, senior author of the study from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, said: "Deep brain stimulation has been used successfully to treat Parkinson's for over 20 years, and is often offered to patients once medication no longer controls their symptoms.
Success - Treatment - Pulses - Brain - Cells
"But despite the success of the treatment, we still don't know exactly how delivering electric pulses to brain cells creates these beneficial effects. Our results, despite being at an early-stage, suggest the electric pulses boost batteries in the brain cells. This potentially opens avenues for exploring how to replicate this cell power-up with non-surgical treatments, without the need for implanting electrodes in the brain."
Parkinson's disease affects around 127,000 people in the UK, and causes the progressive loss of brain cells in an area called the substantia nigra. This leads to a reduction in a brain chemical called dopamine, which is crucial for controlling movement. As a result, the condition triggers symptoms such as tremor...
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