Sunday, November 2, 2008

It DOES take a brain surgeon ( Part One)

Armchair authority fearlessly takes on questions about DBS

Q: "DBS"? WTF?

A: DBS is the acronym for Deep Brain Stimulation, a surgical procedure that lessens some symptoms of Parkinson's Disease in some patients.

Q: Wouldn't "Shallow Brain Stimulation" be called for with your particular brain?

A: Cheap shot. In this case, "Deep Brain" refers to anatomy, as the target area of the operation lies far inside the the brain. (See diagram A)

Q: "Some symptoms"?

A: An abbreviated list of symptoms that DBS works well for include tremor, rigidity, and slow movement. Among things the surgery does not seem to help with are balance, speech problems (which may increase,) and Parkinson's related dementia.

Q: Well that sucks

A: Tell me about it. As more experience accumulates, some of the early problems are now understood to be related to placement of the apparatus in the brain. Others, such as cognitive impairment may not be as consequential as previously believed. But is not a panacea or a cure for PD.

Q:"Some Patients"?

A: One has to be carefully evaluated by a neurologist to determine whether this expensive and somewhat risky operation will actually benefit the patient or just the surgeon.

Now YOU'RE making with the cheap shots.

Sorry, I'll try to behave.

Q: How does DBS work?

A: See diagram B.

This ends part one.

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