Parkinson's patients will be the first of a group of people suffering from neuromuscular diseases such as Parkinson's, Motor Neurone Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, that will be tested in clinical trials using the Isodynamics Reviver medical devices.
The trials, being funded in part by the Federal Government and managed by the CSIRO, are being conducted by Monash University neuroscientists at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.
The Reviver devices are already being used to treat patients at the Isodynamics Reviver Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Clinic in Caringbah.
Inventor and managing director Geoffrey Redmond said it was the only rehabilitation clinic offering this unique treatment for a range of neuromuscular diseases and disabilities.
He said practitioners at the clinic had seen visible results with their patients as they use the device to exercise and naturally "fire up" the body's neural and nervous pathways.
"After using the device, Parkinson's patients, in particular, have reported improved balance, strength and mobility with some patients even regaining their ability to swim, clap hands and walk backwards," Mr Redmond said.
"It is these results that led to the first trials of the device being conducted specifically with Parkinson's patients."
Parkinson's disease is a brain condition that affects movement and co-ordination.
Nerve cells die and eventually a patient loses muscle control.
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Cronulla's John Mutton was diagnosed with Parkinson's three years ago but said he "feels like he has had the condition for eight".
"I found I could not co-ordinate with my swimming and developed a shake in my left hand," he said. "You can make it as hard or as easy as you like.
"It improved my balance immediately and I could swim again. I've been tested three times and haven't got any worse in 12 months. I've actually got quicker and stronger."
The Isodynamics Reviver machines were invented, and are produced, in the Sutherland Shire. Treatment at the Caringbah clinic attracts Medicare, NDIS and other health fund funding.
Once the Parkinson's clinical trial is finished the results should be published in about 12 months' time, Mr Redmond said.
"Positive results could see the Reviver devices becoming a standard form of medical treatment for Parkinson's sufferers," he said. "A further trial with balance-impaired patients is already scheduled to commence after the first trial is published."
The Isodynamics Reviver Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Clinic is at 59A Cawarra Road, Caringbah. You can phone 9524 2188.