Changing treatment of Parkinson’s may improve quality of life

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A recent study led by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) provides renewed hope for patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease who have exhausted standard treatment options.

As Parkinson’s disease advances, patients often turn to more invasive therapies, including deep brain stimulation and pump technology for medication delivery.

However, when these treatments fail to deliver desired results or lose effectiveness, both patients and physicians may conclude that treatment options are limited, impacting quality of life and life expectancy.

Parkinson’s Disease and Its Incurable Nature

Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease globally, following Alzheimer’s. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, treatments are primarily focused on managing symptoms.

In the early stages, medication in the form of tablets can alleviate symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, these medications may become inadequate.

Invasive Therapies as Advanced Treatment Options

Patients with advanced Parkinson’s often explore invasive treatments, such as deep brain stimulation, which involves the implantation of electrodes in the brain, and pump technology for drug infusion into the intestines or abdominal wall.

These therapies, while effective initially, may eventually lose their efficacy.

When standard advanced treatments fail, both patients and healthcare providers may be hesitant to explore alternative invasive treatments or combination therapies.

It is often assumed that all available options have been exhausted, potentially leading to a decline in the patient’s quality of life.

Gathering Data to Explore Alternative Solutions

The research team, led by Prof. Paul Lingor, co-director of the Parkinson’s Outpatient Center at TUM Klinikum rechts der Isar, gathered data from 22 Parkinson’s treatment centers across Germany in the Competence Network Parkinson (Kompetenznetz Parkinson, KNP).

This extensive dataset spanned from 2005 to 2021 and included approximately 11,000 patients who underwent advanced treatments. Among them, 116 individuals received alternative treatments after the initial therapy failed.

Encouraging Results from Treatment Changes

The analysis of these cases revealed that most changes in treatment were successful, with patients reporting subjective improvements in mobility, substantiated by objective assessments. These findings provide a new ray of hope for advanced Parkinson’s patients.

As the population ages, addressing the challenge of treatment failure in advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease becomes increasingly important.

The study’s results underscore the potential benefits of exploring alternative treatments when standard options falter. This insight may help improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients.

If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies that Vitamin B may slow down cognitive decline, and Mediterranean diet could help lower risk of Parkinson’s.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that oral cannabis extract may help reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms, and Vitamin E may help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

The research findings can be found in Neurology.

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