BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Parkinson’s disease affects hundreds of thousands of people in the country. Doctors say a lot of patients don’t know about an important treatment option.
A treatment called Deep brain stimulation helps with motor problems associated with Parkinson’s. A wire is part of the Deep brain stimulation procedure, it’s inserted into a patient’s brain and it electrically stimulates the circuit for movement.
The surgical procedure is not new, but recently the FDA has approved it for people in earlier stages of the disease. Previously a patient had to have Parkinson’s for a number of years before the treatment was considered appropriate, now it’s based on when a patient reaches a certain stage of the disease, which turns out to be a younger age for most patients.
“We’re modifying the circuit in the brain that eventually sends a message for movement. So in Parkinson’s there are message that are no movement, they can’t get going, they have messages of excessive movement. So we can modify both the excessive movement by modifying that circuit and we can modify the lack of movement,” said Doctor Robert Plunkett, University at Buffalo Associate Professor of Neurosurgery.
Dr. Plunkett says side effects or risks of using deep brain stimulation are low and the treatment has a high success rate. He says about 85 percent of patients who receive it see a significant improvement in their quality of life.