Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

19th century therapy for Parkinson's disease may help patients today

Date:
April 19, 2012
Source:
Rush University Medical Center
Summary:
In the 19th century, Jean-Martin Charcot, the celebrated neurologist, developed a "vibration chair," to relieve symptoms of Parkinson's disease. 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 have replicated his work in a study to see if Charcot's observation holds true against modern scientific testing.

These are Vibration chairs. This shows a vibratory chair (fauteuil tr΄epidant) constructed under the direction of Charcot in the nineteenth century (left) and the Vibration chair (NexNeuro) utilized in this program with headphones, CD player, and amplifier.
Credit: A.S. Kapur, G.T. Stebbins, and C.G. Goetz

In the 19th century, Jean-Martin Charcot, the celebrated neurologist, developed a "vibration chair," to relieve symptoms of Parkinson's disease. 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.

Related Articles


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.'"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rush University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A.S. Kapur, G.T. Stebbins, and C.G. Goetz. Vibration Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease: Charcot’s Stuides Revisited. Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, 2(2012) 23-27 DOI: 10.3233/JPD-2012-12079

Cite This Page:

Rush University Medical Center. "19th century therapy for Parkinson's disease may help patients today." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419132606.htm>.
Rush University Medical Center. (2012, April 19). 19th century therapy for Parkinson's disease may help patients today. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419132606.htm
Rush University Medical Center. "19th century therapy for Parkinson's disease may help patients today." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419132606.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins