Shining a specially-designed light on the problem, researchers at the University of Virginia say that a new therapy could help Parkinson's disease sufferers improve their mobility in retirement living communities.
Mitochondria are the energy generators in the human body, but they slow down in those who suffer from the condition, limiting the ability for the brain to control motor function because of a lack of energy at the cellular level.
The scientists developed a light with a specific wavelength, and used it on cell samples taken from people with the disease for about two hours.
They say that the mitochondria were able to move around the cells at levels similar to other adults of the same age without Parkinson's.
The therapy "has the potential to improve neuronal function in many patients with PD and other neurological diseases," says lead researcher Dr Patricia A. Trimmer.
It is currently in clinical trials to gauge its efficacy in a wider group of patients, and Trimmer says that the technology is already being used to reduce the effects of injury and inflammation.