Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2012;1(4):144-150. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2012.v1.4.144)

Peripheral stimulation in treating Parkinson's disease: Is it a realistic idea or a romantic whimsicality?

Asakawa T, Fang H, Hong Z, Sugiyama K, Nozaki T, Namba H


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common, however, intractable neurodegenerative disorder in the aging population. Levodopa (L-dopa) administration is regarded as the most effective strategy in treating PD with prominent motor side-effects after undergoing longterm treatment. Surgical therapies such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) show certain efficacy, yet there are several limitations in adopting such surgical procedures. Therefore, performing electrical stimulation out of the brain, namely peripheral stimulation for PD has been a dream of many clinicians. Recently, the efficacy of dorsal column stimulation was verified in animal PD models; on the other hand, tons of acupunctural studies from East Asia claim good efficacy in treating PD both in bench and clinical studies. This review will introduce the progress of peripheral stimulation for PD, and will discuss the potential mechanisms involved in these strategies.

KEYWORDS: Parkinson's disease, deep brain stimulation, peripheral stimulation, dorsal column, acupuncture, somatosensory system

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