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Electrical impulses 'could benefit Parkinson's patients'

Electrical impulses 'could benefit Parkinson's patients'
4th June 2008

Using electrical impulses to stimulate weak muscles has proved an effective treatment for Parkinson's patients during a recent trial.

Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) has previously been used to treat stroke or multiple sclerosis patients and help them to walk, and now Salisbury Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has come up with evidence to suggest it could benefit people with Parkinson's.

Geraldine Mann, of the trust, states that FES in the heel of the foot, caused by a footswitch in the patient's shoe, would begin as soon as the leg swings through and stop as the foot returns to the ground.

It was noted that such stimulation reduced the number of falls patients suffered and improved their stride length and distance walked.

"FES could make a big difference to their quality of life and provide therapists with an additional and much needed treatment modality," concluded Ms Mann.

In related news, Forbes recent reported that a new medication, istradfeylline, may help people combat the tics and spasms that many Parkinson's patients suffer when their main medication wears off.