Potential good news for Parkinson's patients: An experimental treatment on mice that involves implanting electrodes on the spinal cord had great success, Reuters reports. Mice that received the so-called stimulator were able to move more easily. Human trials are expected to start next year, and they could lead the way to a safer, cheaper, and more effective way to treat the debilitating symptoms of the disease.
"We see an almost immediate and dramatic change in the animal's ability to function when the device stimulates the spinal cord," writes one of the lead researchers in Science. Some Parkinson's patients currently have similar stimulators placed in the brain, but that's a risky procedure that benefits a relative few. The spinal cord stimulator also seems to improve the effectiveness of L-dopa treatment, a Parkinson’s drug.