There are different therapies available for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). These include speech, occupational and physical therapy, as well as medications. Additionally, new emerging therapies are also being explored for the management of PD. It is essential to understand that there are different types of PD.
- Primary PD or classic PD refers to people who experience the “typical” symptoms such as tremors, stiffness in the arms and legs, and slow movement beginning at around age 50.
- Secondary PD refers to a group of individuals who have developed parkinsonism—which is a set of motor symptoms similar to those of PD—as a result of another condition or illness.
However, it is not just about the type but also the stage (mild vs moderate vs severe) at which you start treatment. There are many therapies that can be started at multiple stages – mild, moderate or severe – depending on your level of severity and response to other medications. Here we will take an in-depth look into one such emerging option:
The use of virtual reality for treating PD.
What Is Austedo?
Austedo is a wearable device that can be used to treat PD. It helps people with PD by stimulating their sensory system. The device sends signals to the brain’s motor cortex and can therefore be used to treat the symptoms of PD. What is the motor cortex, you ask? The motor cortex is the part of the brain that controls motor skills such as hand movement, speech, and walking. The device is applied to the head. It is placed near the motor cortex in the brain, which is where movement and balance are controlled. Then, the device sends signals to stimulate the motor cortex and is used to improve movement in people with PD.
How does Austedo Work?
Similar to other emerging therapies, the exact mechanism of action is not fully understood. However, Austedo is thought to work by stimulating the sensory system. This is done by applying a mild electrical signal near the motor cortex, which then transmits signals to the brain’s neurons. The stimulation of the neurons causes the release of chemicals that help improve movement and reduce muscle stiffness. Additionally, the device may also help improve balance by inducing a sense of lightness in the head, which reduces the risk of falling.
Can Virtual Reality be Used to Treat PD??
Yes. Virtual reality (VR) has been explored as a potential therapy for PD. A study published in Neurology (the official medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology) showed that participants who used VR had reduced symptoms of PD as compared to those who were assigned to the control group.
This study was carried out with a small sample size (22 participants in each group). However, the findings are very promising and suggest that VR may indeed be useful as a treatment for PD. However, we need to explore this further before we can state this with certainty. There are many aspects to be explored. VR can be applied in various ways. Some types of VR are more suitable and effective for treating PD than others.
VR devices can be bulky, and the wires and electrodes that go with them may get in the way. Only a few people have tried these devices so far and there is not much data available on their use. Therefore, we don’t know whether they will be easy to use or comfortable. We also don’t know whether they will be effective, or if they will have any side effects.
Final Words: Why Is It Used to Treat Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to move and make decisions. There are different therapies available for people with Parkinson’s disease. These include speech, occupational, and physical therapy, as well as medications.
Additionally, new emerging therapies are also being explored for the management of PD. VR has been explored as a potential therapy for PD. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effect on PD. VR can be applied in various ways. Some types of VR are more suitable and effective for treating PD than others.