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Technology easing ex-footballer's Parkinson's symptoms from 700km away



Former Adelaide Crows footballer Mark Mickan has revealed how life-changing technology is allowing a doctor to treat his Parkinson's Disease from 700 kilometres away.

But the medical breakthrough is bittersweet, with many Parkinson's sufferers, including Mickan's brother, unable to benefit from the innovative treatment.

Mickan has had his symptoms eased from the comfort of his couch in Adelaide's western suburbs with the help of Melbourne neurologist Dr Andrew Evans.

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It is a breakthrough treatment for the former Crows Club Champion, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's a year after coaching West Adelaide to the 2015 Grand Final.

He had endured crippling stiffness and tremors.

"My whole feeling of well-being wasn't there and after the surgery, it was life-changing really," Mickan said.

Three implants were placed inside the 62-year-old's brain and linked to two pulse generators on either side of his chest.

These implants and generators are able to be controlled from Melbourne.

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Mark Mickan underwent surgery to have three implants placed inside this brain which are linked to two pulse generators on either side of his chest.

"I can log in remotely to either one and at the same time I can see the effects of the stimulation changes that I'm making now many hundreds of kilometres away," Dr Evans said.

The treatment has seen Mickan regain control of his hands without the need for medication.

"I reserve the right to mow the lawn," Mickan said.

"I still can drive the car and I feel like I'm functioning as well as I possibly could under the circumstances."

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Melbourne neurologist Dr Andrew Evans can remotely ease Mickan's symptoms while he sits on his couch in Adelaide's western suburbs.

About 150,000 Australians are living with Parkinson's disease but there are only 1000 receiving this type of remote treatment.

Mickan hopes it will be rolled out more broadly in the years to come.

"There are a lot of people out there in the country or in regional areas who don't have access to a neurologist and they too could benefit in the same way that I have," Mickan said.

The treatment is not suitable for all Parkinson's cases and Mickan's brother is among those left to deal with the symptoms the best way they can.

"It was difficult for the whole family," he said.

"We certainly get around him and hope for the best."

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