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UK Physicians Tout New Parkinson's Treatment

Josh James

While intense research hasn’t yet produced a cure for Parkinson’s disease, a newly-approved treatment now available at the University of Kentucky is showing promise.

Vice Chair of Research at UK’s Kentucky Neuroscience Institute Dr. John Slevin says, as the disease progresses, patients often see diminishing returns from the medications that once helped them. But a new pump system aims to bypass the sometimes unreliable pills and deliver Parkinson’s drug levodopa directly into the small intestine where it’s absorbed into the body.

"What this does later on when patients have these problems is smooth them out, either taking it all away or at least minimizing it," he explains.

Though still affected at times by involuntary muscle spasms, or dyskinesia, UK trial patient Marion Cox says there’s no question his symptoms have lessened.

"I knew that I was losing ground. I needed to do something to improve it. Dr. Slevin brought this to my attention and it's been the best thing that's ever happened to me," Cox says. "The improvements have been that great."

The treatment gained FDA approval in January and could be fast-tracked for widespread use within the next six months.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.