However, more research is needed to apply the new approach to practice in healthcare. “Our research team was the first to use this method to stimulate the part of the brain responsible for auditory feedback,” study co-author Lubos Brabenc told Brava.
Speech disorders are relatively common in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Patients speak quietly, have difficulty in pronunciation, and their speech is often monotonous. There is also a disturbance in the pace and rhythm of speech. The commonly used treatment is not very effective.
Psytech researchers have found that problems in most patients cause damage to the part of the so-called auditory feedback when the patient does not hear properly.
They used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is used to treat depression. Simply put, the patient wears a funky headgear during the procedure.
With its help, a precisely defined part of the brain is stimulated by a powerful electromagnet. The patient feels only a gentle pressure on his head. The procedure is painless, takes half an hour and is repeated ten times. Engineers from Brno University of Technology helped neuroscientists refine the details.
Treatment is possible at home in the future
Together, they created a special protocol that specifies exactly how the pulsed magnetic field is used while examining the head coil.
Patient values were measured before application of the protocol and immediately after the last application. It was measured with the help of magnetic resonance imaging, sound recording and examination by a speech therapist. Progress has been made in all of them.
“Thanks to our discovery, we are able to improve the quality of life of patients. The results can be used in further research, where the effect of different types of non-invasive stimulation can be tested in combination with other therapeutic methods,” said lead researcher Prof. Irina Rektorova.
Another good news is that at the end of the development of this method, there may be a simple device that will one day allow patients to do the treatment themselves at home.