Charcot reported improvements in his patients, but he died shortly thereafter and a more complete evaluation of the therapy was never conducted. Now, a group of neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center have replicated his work in a study to see if Charcot’s observation holds true against modern scientific testing.
Results from the study indicate that while vibration therapy does significantly improve some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, the effect is due to placebo or other nonspecific factors, and not the vibration. The findings are published in the April issue of Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.
“We attempted to mimic Charcot’s protocol with modern equipment in order to confirm or refute an historical observation,” explains lead investigator Christopher G. Goetz, MD, director of the Parkinson’s disease and Movement Disorders Center at Rush. “Both the treated group and the control group improved similarly, suggesting other factors had an effect on Parkinson’s disease motor function.”
Charcot’s patients told him that during long carriage rides or train journeys, uncomfortable or painful symptoms of Parkinson’s disease seemed to disappear, and the relief lasted quite some time after the journey. He developed a chair that mimicked the continuous jerking of a carriage or train.
Goetz and his colleagues randomly assigned 23 patients to either a vibrating chair or the same chair without vibration. During the treatment sessions, both groups of study participants listened to a relaxation CD of nature sounds. Study participants underwent daily treatment for a month.
The patients in the vibration treatment group showed significant improvement in motor function after daily 30-minute treatments for four weeks. Although not as high, motor function scores for the no vibration group also improved significantly. Both groups showed similar and significant improvement in depression, anxiety, fatigue, and nighttime sleep and both groups reported similar high satisfaction with their treatment.
“Our results confirm Charcot’s observation of improvement in Parkinson’s disease symptomology with chronic vibration treatment, but we did not find the effect specific to vibration,” said Goetz. “Instead, our data suggest that auditory sensory stimulation with relaxation in a lounge chair or simply the participation in a research protocol has equivalent benefit as vibration on motor function.”
“While we can agree that our results may not change scientific thinking on treatment mechanisms, our results will allow clinicians to guide patients to at least one apparatus that is safe and associated with objective changes in parkinsonian impairment scores,” said Goetz. “Charcot’s advice to colleagues resonates as one places vibration therapy in the context of potential options for patients. ‘It is no small gain to be able to relieve the sufferers of paralysis agitans.’”
Deb Song | EurekAlert!
Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
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21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
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21.11.2017 | Life Sciences