Pilot study changing life of Parkinson's patient
Published Friday, March 17, 2017 5:31PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 17, 2017 6:24PM EDT
A pilot study is changing the life of a Windsor man.
Parkinson's disease started taking over Larry Walleyn’s body 15 years ago, and he has struggled ever since.
“I can't do things I want to do but I try my best” says Walleyn.
Parkinson's first affected Walleyn with a hand tremor then it began to affect his mobility.
But Walleyn is walking again.
It’s something he never imagined he would be doing, until he took part in a pilot study conducted by Neurologist Dr. Mander Jog and his team of students.
It involves spinal cord stimulators. They are often used to reduce pain in patients with Parkinson's. But for the first time ever, Dr. Jog and his team decided to try something new.
“We program the stimulator to stimulate the cells to see if we can recruit these spinal cells by waking them up so to say and that's what we seem to see,” says Dr. Jog.
Five patients with advanced Parkinson's were used in the initial study, and each saw improvement. In two cases, patients in wheelchairs were able to get up and walk again.
Walleyn has now been able to walk with the stimulator for a little over a year. He even went on vacation to PEI with his wife.
Dr. Jog and his team will now begin a much larger study using spinal cord stimulators with the hopes of this becoming a viable treatment down the road.