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Parkinson's Disease

Implant to help the symptoms of Parkinson`s

08/16/2006

Question:

An acquaintance saw a documentary about six months ago that had some type of device implanted and a control that helped with the symptoms of Parkinson`s Disease. This device was in America. I have tried to find out further information but have had no success.

Answer:

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is considered the best surgical treatment for Parkinson's disease currently.  This therapy was approved by the FDA in the US in 2002.  It involves the placement of an electrode strip into the subthalamic nucleus (usual target) that then has an electrical current applied.  This electrical stimulation allows changes to occur in this area of the brain and provide decrease in symptoms of PD. 

However, it does not control all symptoms.  This therapy tends to be most effective for tremor, dyskinesias (excessive movements), rigidity and slowness of movement.  It is less effective for gait difficulties, especially due to postural instability. DBS is best suited for patients that have motor fluctuations that are difficult to control despite optimal medication therapy, yet still clearly have a good response to levodopa.

This is a neurosurgical procedure and so involves the risk seen with brain surgery.  Additionally, it should be emphasized that this is not a cure, nor will it stop the progression of the disease.  More about this therapy can be found at the manufacturer's (Medtronics) website: www.activadbs.com/.

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Response by:

Karen M Thomas, DO Karen M Thomas, DO
Formerly:
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University