How it works, and how it can be treated

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, which is thought to affect around 1 in 500 people, most of whom are over the age of 50.

It is primarily characterised by:

  • involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body (tremor)
  • slow movement
  • stiff and inflexible muscles

How does Parkinson’s work?

Parkinson’s is caused by atrophy of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in certain parts of the brain. The reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, as it plays a vital role in regulating movement. The cause of the cell death in the substantia nigra is poorly understood, but involves the build-up of misfolded proteins into Lewy bodies in the neurons.

How can Parkinson’s be treated?

Whilst Parkinson’s is commonly treated with prescribed dopaminergic medications, they only treat the disease as long as they are taken. The most commonly prescribed drug, Levodopa, or L-dopa, works by crossing the blood-brain barrier, and then being converted into dopamine, which dopamine itself would be unable to do. The issue with L-dopa however, is that over time patients build up tolerance to it, meaning higher dosages have to be taken. Particularly in younger people with early-onset Parkinson’s, this can pose an issue, as there is a maximum dose which is safe to take.
Some people with Parkinson’s opt for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) which involves surgically placing a pacemaker-like device in the chest, which is connected to electrodes which stimulate specific regions of the brain to alleviate motor symptoms. Deep Brain Stimulation does not cure Parkinson’s or stop it from progressing, but it can improve a patient’s independence and quality of life through easing symptoms.
TPS® treats Parkinson’s through a similar method to DBS, but unlike DBS, is completely non-invasive. Using TPS®, brain regions of Parkinson’s patients can be stimulated up to 8 cm deep, whereby the short stimulation time prevents the danger of tissue heating. For patients, TPS® is painless and uncomplicated, and the treatment is performed through the closed skull, so shaving of the scalp is not necessary.

The Medical University of Vienna has been conducting a large study on the effectiveness of TPS® on people with Parkinson’s since 2019, and the study will be ready for publication in December of 2023.

Clinical case studies are also being prepared for publication which will be posted here soon.

If you would like to discuss TPS® Parkinson’s treatment with one of our expert clinicians, please contact us using the details below.

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