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Deep Brain Stimulation helps control tremors in movement disorders

Apr 11, 2019

April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month, to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease and promote greater understanding of its affects. Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital offers a remarkable procedure to help control tremors in Parkinson’s and movement disorders patients, called Deep Brain Stimulation.

Deep Brain Stimulation illustrationUsing a small, implanted device with wires leading to the brain, DBS is an alternative for patients who do not respond well to medications. DBS surgery can be done with the patient “awake” or under general anesthesia. Using a special brain navigation system, the surgeon determines a precise 3-D trajectory for placement of the DBS electrodes.

Carondelet Neurological Institute’s Dr. Joseph Christiano says that DBS can be extremely effective in patients for whom medication no longer works. “Although medication can be very effective early on, a typical Parkinson’s patient may consider Deep Brain Stimulation as symptoms worsen over time,” he explains.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the four main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:

  • Tremor (trembling) in hands, arms, legs, jaw or head
  • Stiffness in limbs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement
  • Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls

What causes Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson's disease occurs when nerve cells, or neurons, in an area of the brain that controls movement become impaired and/or die, according to the NIH. When the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine, which causes the movement problems of Parkinson's.

Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital will hold a free seminar on DBS on April 23; RSVP at carondelet.org.

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