Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who exercise on a stationary tandem bicycle with a healthy partner during a single 40-minute session experience a 35% improvement in motor function and increased brain activation similar to that found with levodopa treatment, new research shows.
The study, by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, found that maintaining a steady rate of 80 to 90 revolutions per minute (rpm) on the bicycle not only improved function in lower extremities but also in upper extremities.
I don’t want to reprint the entire article, but this quote resonated for me:
The researchers surmise that the exercise may facilitate central motor control processes in Parkinson’s patients. “For lack of a better word, we may be ‘overdriving’ the central nervous system by providing an increase in the quantity and quality of sensory information provided to the patient,” said Dr. Alberts.
This is really quite something to behold: A DBS lead with electrodes small enough to potentially stimulate individual neurons. The genius lies in applying the technology used in semiconductor chip design to create a lead with many tiny electrodes that can then be activated and controlled with an extraordinary level of precision.
What a terrific article, on the Daily Kos web site. He even answers right up top the unasked question I’ve had for so long: Do you need a catheter, and how exactly is that bit of work performed?
The public relations team at St. Jude Medical is keeping busy. A press release this week announced that all of the 136 participants in its DBS device trial had received their implants. The release wasn’t clear about the expected length of the trial or what exactly the trial is designed to demonstrate.
In Ireland, the system simply sends you across the channel. Why? Finite capacity in the prescribed ranks of neurosurgeons, no doubt.
Deep brain stimulation surgery is quickly becoming the hot new treatment for an ever-widening array of ailments. Initially approved for treatment of motion disorders such as essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease, it was exciting to see the technology applied to other problems, such as epilepsy. Discussion then turned to using DBS for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Since then, we’ve seen the buzz building around DBS for depression. Humanitarian exemptions have been granted for DBS to treat severe Tourette’s.
Another entry in this ongoing theme that is too good to pass up: An article on the CNN web site profiles people who embraced the triathlon lifestyle as an alternative to blowing their brains out on drugs. Works for me! (I don’t train specifically for triathlons, but I do work at a similar intensity level.)