Brain therapy for Parkinson’s and dementia

Brain therapy for Parkinson’s and dementia

The human brain develops rapidly during the first 5 years of life – faster than at any other time. Millions of connections are created in the brain through experiences and relationships, laying the foundations for lifelong health, behaviour and learning ability.

Things change as you get older, though. As you age, specialist cells (neurons) that enable the brain to communicate with the body may progressively degenerate or die. Neurodegenerative disorders tend to worsen over time and may cause a range of symptoms that affect your ability to think, move, feel or behave.

With an ageing population, neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease and dementia are likely to become more common. Though some treatments exist, we can’t currently prevent or cure neurodegenerative disorders. So, what is brain therapy and what role does it play?

What is brain therapy?

Brain-based therapies use the science of neuroplasticity to remould your brain. Whenever you learn a new skill, you’re creating new neural pathways and changing the structure of your brain.

When given the right stimulation, your brain’s nerve cells can expand and communicate with new nerve cells. Brain-based therapy involves a mix of activities designed to provide that stimulation.

The goal is to help restore brain balance – the left and right sides of your brain working closely together in equal partnership.

Brain imbalances lie behind many neurological conditions. For example, patients with Parkinson’s disease often have a brain imbalance (or hemispheric asymmetry). Specific, targeted activities can help to improve function.

How can brain therapy help with neurodegenerative disorders?

We cannot cure neurodegenerative disorders but it is often possible to slow the progression and improve symptoms with brain-based therapies.

Improving memory and cognition 

Photobiomodulation (PBM) uses red or near-infrared light to stimulate, heal, regenerate, and protect tissue that is degenerating or at risk of dying.

In one small trial, researchers investigated the effects of PBM on 19 patients with impaired memory or cognition. The participants were randomly allocated into two groups. One group received PBM and the other received a sham treatment. After 12 weeks, the PBM group showed significant improvements in memory and cognition. They also reported better sleep, fewer angry outbursts, decreased anxiety and less wandering.

Improving visuospatial attention

Visuospatial neglect is a significant cognitive deficit, associated with many neurodegenerative conditions. The brain may struggle to process information about 3D objects, making it difficult to navigate your surroundings – it’s hard to use stairs or drive, for example.

Transcranial direct current stimulation can help to improve brain balance and improve visuospatial attention. It’s a painless, non-invasive brain stimulation technique where constant low direct current is directed through electrodes placed at carefully chosen locations on your head. The electrical current can then change your neurons, creating brain connections that can improve visuospatial attention.

Improving motor control

Parkinson’s disease commonly causes motor symptoms such as stiff, slow movements, tremors or freezing (inability to move). Some types or stages of dementia may cause similar symptoms.

Brain-based therapies provide a way to ease motor symptoms. Interactive metronome is a computer-based program that helps improve timing, focus and coordination in people with  a wide range of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative conditions.

Research shows it has a positive effect on motor control among patients with neurological disorders.

How Neurofit Brain Centre can help

At Neurofit Brain Centre, we believe that brain activity makes an active difference. We employ a number of evidence-based therapies to stimulate your brain in the right places to improve your function and your quality of life.

That starts with a thorough assessment and understanding of your condition and your lifestyle. Then it involves a combination of different treatments that may use light, sound, video games, interactive metronome and much more. It’s non-invasive, enjoyable therapy that helps to rewire your brain to improve Parkinson’s or dementia symptoms.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact us.

Disclaimer

All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Neurofit Brain Centre can consult with you to confirm if a particular treatment approach is right for you.