Developments in Parkinson's Disease Rehabilitation

Following on from last week’s article, this article will discuss a modern rehabilitation technique in Parkinson’s treatment.

A number of people that have Parkinson’s disease have been included in a study that aims to help repair cells in the brain damaged by the disease. During the procedure, an implant is placed onto the side of the participant’s head, just behind the ear. The implant is then attached to the brain in which it delivers a naturally occurring protein, Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF), to the brain - where it will hopefully repair cells damaged by Parkinson’s disease. Professor Steven Gill, the neurosurgeon behind the study, hypothesised that the procedure could also be used to treat other conditions, such as brain tumours, strokes, and other degenerative conditions.

The study used two separate groups, one that would receive monthly doses of GDNF, and the other group would receive placebo infusions - both over the course of nine months. The post-procedure results showed that both groups showed improvements in their symptoms, but the group that received the GDNF had reacted particularly well to the test. Moreover, the brain scans of the group that received GDNF showed signs of improvement after just the first stage when the group that received the placebos did not, researchers announced. This being said, there was not a significant difference between the two groups, according to the findings published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

Dr Alan Whone has said, “We’ve shown with the PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans that having arrived, the drug engages with its target (dopamine nerve endings), and appears to help damaged cells regenerate or have a biological response.” He added that the procedure had seen improvement “beyond anything seen previously in trials of surgically delivered growth-factor treatments for Parkinson’s.”

At the Neuro Convention, you will be able to see Parkinson’s Disease experts such as Dr Terry Gorst, a lecturer from the University of Plymouth. Dr Gorst’s seminar at the event will be titled “Rehabilitation in Parkinson’s Disease: is exercise the new ‘medicine’?” This seminar will offer a different rehabilitation technique compared to Professor Steven Gill’s, which was covered earlier in the article.

At the co-located Medical Imaging Convention, you will be able to see Terry Jones, a medical physicist who has been involved with the development of positron emitting radioisotopes since 1968. More recently, Terry has been involved with the development of U Explorer, the World’s first Total-Body PET Scanner. Terry’s seminar will discuss how this technology offers to advance nuclear medicine based healthcare, and clinical research.

Make sure you cater your show experience to benefit your interests and expertise. Plan your day by looking at the seminars you want to attend, by looking at the seminar timetable on the digital show guide on the website.

The European Neuro Convention is Europe’s only trade show for brain and spine experts and is running on the 26th and 27th March at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Register for your free ticket by following the free tickets link at the top of the page.