Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Tech Videos

Laser technology lets Parkinsonism patients walk again

Friday, Jan 31, 2014 - 02:35

Jan. 31 - Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have developed a device that re-routes brain signals in Parkinsonism disorder patients, allowing them to regain mobility. For at least one patient in Florida, the device is having a life-changing impact. Ben Gruber has more.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

With the help of a walker equipped with laser technology, Wayne Puckett can get around on his own, something he couldn't do 4 years ago. Puckett has a form of Parkinsonism, a neurological disorder that destroys the brain's ability to control motor skills. A former postal worker and father of five, Puckett remembers when the disorder took hold. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WAYNE PUCKETT, PARKINSON'S PATIENT, SAYING: "I feel like I lost being a man. You lose your job, your occupation and it wasn't from a financial standpoint, it was from a health standpoint. And it is a hard thing to take and you feel like less of a person. You know, your kids, you are not able to do as much and they see it." In 2010, Puckett met Dr. Jay Van Gerpen at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. At the time he was wheel-chair bound, but Dr. Van Gerpen told him he had a device that could get him back on his feet that same day. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WAYNE PUCKETT, PARKINSON'S PATIENT, SAYING: "I thought he was crazy. He told me that he has a little red line that was going to be able to make me walk. I was like ain't no way. And he said will you give this thing a try and I was like whatever. And he gave me this thing and I was like wow. And it worked." That little red line is generated by a laser attached to Wayne Pickett's walker. Dr. Van Gerpen says it helps unravel the neurological traffic jam in Puckett's brain caused by his disease, giving him control over his movements again. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. JAY VAN GERPEN, NEUROLOGIST AT THE MAYO CLINIC, SAYING: "There is a part of the brain when you want to initiate walking in the prefrontal cortex in the basal ganglia and if those areas get damaged than those signals don't get to the primary motor cortex. That is the part of the brain that actually controls voluntary muscle movement." Van Gerpen says the laser line acts a visual queue, that prompts Puckett's brain to bypass the signal jam and use another route to connect the prefrontal cortex to motor cortex. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. JAY VAN GERPEN, NEUROLOGIST AT THE MAYO CLINIC, SAYING: "We are capitalising on the parts of the brain that are working quite well to help compensate for those that are not." Wayne Puckett says the laser beam has given him back his life. He says he feels more independent and looks forward to facing the future, one step at a time.

Laser technology lets Parkinsonism patients walk again

Friday, Jan 31, 2014 - 02:35

Top News »

Investing 201 »

Arian Foster = BlackBerry? Arian Foster = BlackBerry?

Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - (3:16)

Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - (2:34)

Copycat currency trading Copycat currency trading

Wed, Oct 02, 2013 - (2:28)

When to dump a winner When to dump a winner

Tue, Sep 24, 2013 - (1:55)

Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - (2:05)

Why savings interest rates won't budge Why savings interest rates won't budge

Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - (2:09)

Buy local? ETFs try the trend Buy local? ETFs try the trend

Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - (2:42)

The better bond funds The better bond funds

Wed, Aug 07, 2013 - (2:40)

Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks Best bargain in 40 years? European stocks

Thu, Aug 01, 2013 - (2:24)

Invest like an activist Invest like an activist

Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - (2:49)

Money Clip »

3 things to do before disaster strikes 3 things to do before disaster strikes

Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - (1:39)

Your must-do money list Your must-do money list

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - (1:24)

The worst "best" financial advice The worst "best" financial advice

Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - (1:42)

Forget gold: The case for REITs Forget gold: The case for REITs

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - (1:19)

3 rules for buying a house now 3 rules for buying a house now

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - (1:39)

“Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip “Stalking” your dream home - Money Clip

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - (2:50)

3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip 3 hidden tax deductions - Money Clip

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 - (1:33)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)

Moving Pictures »

Still missing – MH370 Still missing – MH370

Fri, Sep 05, 2014 - (2:05)

Images of August Images of August

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (1:00)

Burning Together Burning Together

Mon, Sep 01, 2014 - (2:23)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (3:12)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - (3:04)