"There's new hope for Parkinson's sufferers in the form of light therapy, with a clinical trial showing an improvement in the symptoms of participants.
Researchers are now recruiting patients for a larger study in Sydney, which they hope will have similar results.
One of the participants is classically-trained pianist Chen Ong (photographed above). She is back doing what she loves after a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease two years ago. Ms Ong is now keeping the tremours at bay with the help of a [SYMBYX PDCare] hand-held laser light.
"It wasn't immediate but over a few weeks I realised that I was getting stronger and I spoke better, my walking improved my sleep has improved," Ms Ong said.
"I started playing the piano again to a point where my husband said 'oh you're not making as many mistakes now' as he started to sing along with my playing".
Med-tech company SYMBYX has developed the medical-grade lasers, and clinical trials undertaken in Adelaide showed mobility, cognition, balance and fine motor skills were significantly improved in Parkinson's sufferers for up to a year. Some even regained their sense of smell.
The infrared light is targeted at the stomach, energising cells and reducing inflammation. The therapy is thought to improve the microbiome in the gut, which then helps the brain produce more dopamine, which is a chemical missing in Parkinson's sufferers.
SYMBYX scientist Dr Ann Liebert said the treatment makes a "huge difference" to the lives of those with the disease.
"What they can do, how they can socialise, how they can move and enjoy all the things in their life," Dr Liebert said.
Scientists are now recruiting for a larger trial to be run here out of the SAN Hospital but participants will be able to do the treatment themselves at home.
There is no cure for Parkinson's disease - this treatment is designed to work in conjunction with other therapies such as acupuncture, exercise, and medication."
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