Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

"Pacemaker For The Brain" May Offer Hope To Sufferers Of Severe Parkinson's Disease

Date:
December 27, 2001
Source:
Penn State University College Of Medicine
Summary:
A researcher at Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine is investigating an alternative surgical treatment that could rejuvenate patients suffering from Parkinson's Disease.

HERSHEY, PA -- A researcher at Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine is investigating an alternative surgical treatment that could rejuvenate patients suffering from Parkinson's Disease.

Related Articles


Peter A. Pahapill, M.D., Ph.D., director of Functional, Stereotactic and Restorative Neurosurgery, in the Division of Neurosurgery at Penn State Hershey Medical Center is conducting the study. It calls for 20 Parkinson's patients to undergo Chronic deep brain stimulation or DBS treatment and observation over a period of three years. The study is approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

"There are thousands upon thousands of patients in the United States alone with terrible qualities of life because of their very advanced Parkinson's disease," Pahapill explains. "Preliminary co-operative studies in the United States, Canada and Europe have shown very promising results in these patients with stimulation in specific areas in both sides of the brain. Certainly, the procedures seem to be both effective and safe. However, further studies are needed to confirm and even improve further upon the results so far."

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a progressive degenerative neurological disease that strikes men and women of all ethnicities, but is more prevalent among people over age 64. The disease affects roughly one million Americans, including such well-known individuals as actor Michael J. Fox and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

Symptoms of PD include tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, and problems with balance and walking. In Pahapill's words, Parkinson's disease interferes with a person's ability to "enjoy a life with independence and dignity."

DBS is an alternative therapy for Parkinson's disease. It involves the use of electronics -- "a pacemaker for the brain" -- to stimulate and modify brain activity. DBS is reversible, adjustable and may create less persistent adverse effects than conventional operations that involve the intentional scaring of brain tissue.

According to Dr. Pahapill, DBS involves the insertion of three mechanical components: an electrode lead; an extension; and an implantable pulse generator or IPG. The lead consists of small insulated wires connected to four electrode contacts. The lead is implanted in the brain, near the site where traditional surgical treatments would call for a permanent lesion to be made, and is connected to the extension cable that connects to the IPG. The IPG is implanted in the subcutaneous tissue below the clavicle (collar bone).

The IPG operates much like a cardiac pacemaker to generate electronic signals that are delivered to the brain through the extension and electrode lead. A physician programs the IPG to deliver the appropriate stimulation by specifying the intensity, rate and pulse width. The physician can as well as choose which lead contacts receive stimulation. Programming can be done by physicians during office visits and is painless.

Studies show that about 90% of Parkinson's sufferers experience complete or nearly complete elimination of the physical tremors or shaking associated with the disease after undergoing DBS treatment. Preliminary data also shows striking improvements in controlling other debilitating signs and symptoms of PD as mentioned above.

While DBS neither cures Parkinson's disease nor prevents its progression, Dr. Pahapill is convinced that this alternative treatment can minimize the impact of its symptoms and improve the overall quality of life for Parkinson's patients. He hopes this new study will further prove this assertion.

"We would hope that with proper FDA-approved studies, such as ours, the results will help support the provision of this therapy to many more patients suffering from parkinsonism in our country."

Participants in the DBS study must be diagnosed Parkinson's patients and must be over 18 years of age. They can be male or female, although pregnant women are not permitted to participate. Participants in the study will receive optimal medical and surgical treatment for Parkinson's Disease free of charge.

Volunteers who meet the study's criteria should call the Medical Center's toll-free CareLine at 1-800-243-1455.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State University College Of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State University College Of Medicine. ""Pacemaker For The Brain" May Offer Hope To Sufferers Of Severe Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 December 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011224084212.htm>.
Penn State University College Of Medicine. (2001, December 27). "Pacemaker For The Brain" May Offer Hope To Sufferers Of Severe Parkinson's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011224084212.htm
Penn State University College Of Medicine. ""Pacemaker For The Brain" May Offer Hope To Sufferers Of Severe Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011224084212.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins