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A Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease: Deep-Brain Stimulation (DBS)

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a new and innovative method that utilizes technology to treat the neurodegenerative Parkinson’s Disease. Research has shown that Parkinson’s Disease is caused by a depletion of dopamine in the brain and can lead to uncontrollable tremors. People affected by Parkinson’s Disease have no control of their movement or coordination since the depletion of dopamine causes them to lose control of these functions.

DBS surgery is primarily used on patients whose medications are not working. The surgery involves placing a small, thin, metal electrode in various locations of the brain that are attached to a pulse generator implanted under the skin. Once the electrodes are placed in the brain, the device will routinely transmit electrical impulses to target locations in the brain. The electrical impulses from the DBS device will interfere with the signals from the patients’ Parkinson’s Disease and reduce the tremors.

Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease. Medications and drugs are often prescribed to help control the symptoms of the disease.

How can we improve DBS?

DBS has a long journey for improvement and can become a very effective method for treating Parkinson’s Disease. One way we can improve this method is by developing a closed-loop DBS system that will transmit electrical signals when the patient begins to tremor. Right now, most devices release electrical signals routinely, but it would be much more beneficial to the patient to emit signals as soon as the patient begins to tremor.

 

Edited by: Kaylynn Crawford and Shreya Singireddy