Brain implant brings hope to thousands of Parkinson's sufferers
Quality of life increases by 26 percent following surgery
A new form of brain surgery could conceivably bring hope to thousands of Parkinson's sufferers. A two-year trial has proven that deep brain stimulation using an electrical implant is more effective than drugs, and at a much earlier stage in the disease than previously found.
While Parkinson's usually strike people over the age of 60, it does attack younger people, as in the case of actor Michael J. Fox, who has since used his celebrity to draw attention to the disease.
Tests showed that coordination improved by 50 percent. Activities such as speech, handwriting, dressing and walking were also improved by 30 percent for those having the operation. Respondents also took less medication and had fewer drug-related complications; those on drugs alone had to increase the dose.
The latest trial involving 251 patients in France and Germany gave deep brain stimulation to people who had suffered Parkinson's for around seven years. Trials had successfully tested the procedure on patients with advanced disease, after 12 years.
"These results signal a shift in the way patients with Parkinson's disease can be treated." Professor of Neurology at Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel Gunther Deushcl, and lead investigator of the study for Germany, said.
"They prove that deep brain stimulation therapy can improve patients' quality of life even in the earlier stages of Parkinson's disease, when clinicians traditionally rely solely on drugs," Deushcl added.
Patients having deep brain stimulation are fitted with a neuro-stimulator, a device similar to a heart pacemaker, which is connected to electrodes placed in certain parts of the brain. The electrical implant is then connected to a small battery under the skin in the person's chest or abdomen to generate small electrical signals to stimulate the brain.
The device is controlled by a hand-held device which can be switched on and off. When switched on, the patient benefits from the blocking of abnormal nerve signals which trigger the symptoms associated with Parkinson's.
About 10,000 people are newly diagnosed with Parkinson's each year, and 125,000 are living with the disease at any time. Most are over 60 years of age, but a significant number afflicted are young.
Described as a progressive neurological condition that causes symptoms of tremor and muscular rigidity or stiffness that can make walking, talking and even writing difficult or frustrating. While there is no cure for Parkinson's, there are a range of treatments help control symptoms.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Exercise reduces chances of dementia, lengthy study concludes
- Obamacare crashing in model states like California as 70 percent of doctors opt out
- New hepatitis-C drug approved by FDA
- Donors from around the world say that an AIDS-free generation may be within sight
- Washington signing up more people for Medicaid than private plans
- Man documents ravages of diabetes to his feet as they decay within 10 DAYS
- Dementia epidemic only growing worse: 135 million sufferers could arrive by 2050
- Men are from Mars, Women from Venus? Their brains are certainly wired differently
- Drinking water from plastic cups, bottles may be causing migraine headaches
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?