A Salisbury District Hospital team of clinical scientists and specialist staff have been awarded an initial £244,000 grant to lead new research that will look at whether Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) could improve co-ordination and movement for patients with Parkinson ’s disease.
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) involves the use of electrical devices to stimulate paralysed nerves and muscles to produce useful movement. The team, which is in the forefront of clinical science and engineering in this area, have a track record of developing their own pioneering devices that have improved the quality of life for people who have had a stroke or other neurological disorders and are now looking for Parkinson’s disease patients to take part in this new research.
Dr Paul Taylor, Clinical Scientist and Project Lead, said: “The aim of this research is to test a new device that aims to improve walking for people who have Parkinson’s disease as they often have difficulty in walking. This causes them to move slowly and increases their risk of a fall. FES is used to stimulate underactive muscles, by applying small electrical impulses to their nerves, enabling them to walk more effectively.”
“In previous small studies, we have shown that patients are able to walk faster and have reduced symptoms after using FES, and we want to carry out a formal research study to investigate whether FES would be beneficial to patients in the longer term when compared with routine care.”
Dr Taylor added: “Before we move into a major research phase we need to carry out another smaller study to ensure that any full research is designed properly and we are looking for patients who can take part in this initial study. Sixty-eight people who have Parkinson’s disease will be randomly allocated to have either FES with routine care or routine care alone and, over 22 weeks we will measure the changes in walking speed, falls, quality of life and symptoms. Information gathered from this study will be used to design a full research project and apply for an additional grant. “
Anyone interested in getting taking part in this initial phase should contact Dr Paul Taylor on 01722 429119 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust is the lead organisation for this research which also covers a second site at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, together with partners at universities in Southampton, Bristol and Bournemouth.