Deep Brain Stimulation, Not Meds for Parkinson’s


HOUSTON, Texas (Ivanhoe Newswire) —Parkinson’s disease can cause tremors, loss of balance and more importantly, loss of control. But for one smart, outgoing university professor, brain surgery, called deep brain stimulation, gave him a second chance at life, after finally getting the upper hand on Parkinson’s.

“It’s made a profound difference in my life,” Rudy Hardy shared with Ivanhoe.

You feel Rudy Hardy’s enthusiasm, first.

Hardy stated, “So, I’m a professional sports photographer!”

And a professor of criminal justice, but Parkinson’s hijacked his body triggering depression.

“I kind of closed myself in my house. I didn’t go anywhere,” Hardy recalled.

He did venture on campus and colleagues were reassuring.

“Some of the folks around here, they said, ‘Rudy don’t worry about it’, and, and I know they were true to their hearts,” Hardy explained.

But even with meds, the shaking continued.

Rudy’s medications worked, for a while.

“I wasn’t gonna go through life like that”, Hardy stated.

“But it got progressively worse and within the last two years, I mean, I was flopping,” Hardy recalled.

Sameer Sheth, MD, a neurosurgeon at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical and associate professor of neurosurgery at Baylor College told Ivanhoe, “Many of the medicines, themselves, have their own side effects.”

“I mean, brain surgery. Just those two words, alone. Brain. Surgery, “Hardy contemplated.

But, he did it. Surgical implants in his brain.

“You can think of it as a pacemaker, but not for the heart, but for the brain,”, Dr. Sheth illustrated.

“The neurologist typically does the programming. So, the system is a programmable system, it’s adjustable, modifiable, there’s a wireless kind of remote control,” Dr. Sheth clarified.

Hardy exclaimed, “Dr. Sheth went about it as if, it wasn’t much to it! It was routine!”

Hardy shared, “When I get excited, or upset, or mad with my wife or anything like that, you know, it starts in, you know, but now, my goodness! Look at this!”

Perfectly steady and ready for whatever life throws at him.

This operation is not for everyone, but for patients like Rudy, it’s been a game-changer.  Ninety-two percent of patients who elect surgery are satisfied, although it, too, has side effects.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Donna Parker, Field Producer; Bruce Maniscalo, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4740

BACKGROUND: Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes uncontrollable shaking and stiffness and often creates issues with balance and coordination. Parkinson’s is a progressive disease with symptoms that start off gradually and then get worse as time goes on. Patients may also suffer from mental or behavioral changes, difficulty sleeping, depressive episodes, and fatigue. The disease occurs when nerve cells in an area of the brain that controls motor function and movement are impaired and stop producing dopamine. The clearest risk for Parkinson’s is age with most patients being 60 years of age or older. However, about five to ten percent of patients may suffer from what is called ‘early onset’, meaning that they were diagnosed before the age of fifty.

(Source: )

MEDICATION: There are currently many medications to treat Parkinson’s symptoms. One of their main objectives is to increase or substitute dopamine. Patients with Parkinson’s have low amounts of dopamine that cause a myriad of problems. However, there is no way to give dopamine directly. Patients may have significantly improved symptoms, but the effectiveness and consistency of the drug often fade over time. Drugs like Levodopa pass a natural chemical into your brain that gets converted to dopamine. Dopamine agonists mimic the effects of dopamine in the brain. MAO B inhibitors try to prevent the loss and breakdown of dopamine.

(Source: )

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Sameer Sheth, MD from Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical says, Deep Brain Stimulation is a surgical treatment for Parkinson’s that involves a high-frequency stimulation of targeted sections of the brain.” The surgical treatment involves placing electrodes in specific areas of the brain. These electrodes send out calculated electrical impulses that can regulate the abnormal impulses in a Parkinson’s patient’s brain. The stimulation is controlled by a device like a pacemaker that is placed just under the skin. Wires then run under the skin and connect to the electrodes in the brain. This treatment is being used to help patients not only with Parkinson’s, but also, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), epilepsy, essential tremors, and dystonia. It’s currently being evaluated for a potential treatment for many other diseases and disorders as well.

(Source: Sameer Sheth, MD, )



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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Sameer Sheth, MD, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

Read the entire Q&A