Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie
University of Otago, Dunedin
Implantable light stimulator to treat Parkinson's disease
36 months

Lay summary

Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects 10,000 people in New Zealand. Current drug and deep brain stimulation treatments help reduce symptoms, but they also produce unwanted side effects. We aim to improve the quality of life for PD patients by developing the next generation of deep brain stimulation technology that has greater target specificity and reduced stimulation side effects. We have recently discovered that light stimulation in the brain improves parkinsonian movements. In this preclinical study, we will optimise the effect of chronic light stimulation to improve precise movements and activities of daily living. To do this, we will create an implantable light stimulator capable of delivering high-resolution optical stimulation patterns to support lifetime treatment options for PD patients. Although the project is focused on PD, the light stimulator has broad utility for treating other neurological and psychiatric diseases.

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