Recently a story appeared on the BBC that attracted a lot of attention. The report was on the use of spinal cord stimulation to treat Parkinson’s patients with severe gait impairments. Though the procedure has only been tried in a small number of people for a relatively short period of time, the team working on it at Western University in London, Canada has had some very promising preliminary results.
Leading the team is Prof. Mandar Jog, the director of the Movement Disorders Centre in London, Ontario and Professor of Neurology at Western University. Coincidentally I met Prof. Jog for the first time about a week before this story broke and had already arranged to come visit him in his lab to learn more about his work. After seeing the excitement this story raised, as well as all the questions the PD community had regarding it, I thought it would be a good opportunity to dust off my interviewer hat and see if I could help shed a little more insight into this treatment.
But before I get to the interview, I also had the opportunity to sit down with PhD candidate Olivia Samotus. I am constantly amazed by the young minds that I come across who have decided to devote themselves to this disease. It is their ingenuity and their hours spent at the bench tinkering and perfecting our models and methods that enables the development of new strategies to treat disease.
Here is Olivia explaining how spinal cord stimulation for Parkinson’s disease works….
As you will hear, Prof. Jog has a rather unique perspective on the brain and the diseases that ail it. His background as a physicist and mathematician, as well as his clinical experience, has led him to some interesting hypotheses about neurodegenerative diseases. It is encouraging to see people from non-traditional neuroscience or neurology backgrounds applying themselves to this problem as they often have intriguing new ways of looking at it. I also particularly like the motto of his lab…
INNOVATE. TRANSLATE. COMMERCIALIZE.
But, without further ado, here is the interview with Prof. Mandar Jog that I recorded with Hugh Johnston on May 1st, 2019.