A new treatment offers hope for Parkinson’s patients to walk again

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Suffered by millions worldwide, the degenerative disease erodes motor functions and in its later stages often confines patients to a bed or wheelchair. This is due to a condition called orthostatic hypotension, which occurs when a person stands up and their blood pressure drops, causing dizziness and even fainting after a couple of steps. For Parkinson’s sufferers, it happens because a regulator in the brain — which normally ensures sufficient blood flows to the brain when we stand up — has been disrupted. But new French research published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week found that a spinal cord implant could help advanced Parkinson’s patients get back on their feet. Earlier this year neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch and Gregoire Courtine revealed that such an implant had enabled three paralysed people to walk again.