A new study led by the University of Kent has shown that gentle, controlled stimulation of the ear canal can help reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
The randomized, controlled study—which was conducted on 46 individuals with Parkinson’s disease—showed that twice-daily stimulation for two months was associated with a significant reduction in both motor and non-motor symptoms of the condition.
Participants reported greater movement and mobility, and showed improvements in decision-making, attention, memory, mood, and sleep. Participants also said that by the end of the study, they found it easier to perform everyday activities by themselves.
Most of the therapeutic gains were greatest five weeks after the end of treatment, suggesting that the treatment may have long-lasting effects.
The study, which was published earlier this week in the journal Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, was led by Professor David Wilkinson at Kent’s School of Psychology.
These results build on other work conducted by Wilkinson’s research group, which has shown that gentle stimulation of the inner ear can also improve neurological symptoms associated with stroke and traumatic brain injury.
University of Kent