GIVING NEW LIFE TO PARKINSON'S SUFFERERS
MANILA, OCTOBER 16, 2007 (STAR) Jasmin sat quietly near her husband inside the lobby of the Philippine Movement Disorder Surgery Center in San Juan. In two days, she was due for deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, a brain operation where she had pinned all her hopes and dreams for a normal life on.
Nineteen years ago, Jasmin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which is characterized by tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement. She was just over 30 years old and a top-level executive in a leading dairy corporation. The change was devastating.
According to Jasmin, the first thing she noticed was stiffness in her extremities, which she initially attributed to exhaustion and rheumatism. Later, she developed tremor in her hands and upon consulting a doctor was told that she had Parkinson’s disease.
“I wanted to have DBS surgery way back in 1998 when it was just recently introduced in France, but there was a very long patient waiting list. We then went to the US but at that time DBS was not yet available and I instead underwent a brain lesioning procedure called pallidotomy,” she recalled.
During pallidotomy, the neurosurgeon uses a long delicate probe to destroy a tiny part of the brain located deep in the cerebral hemisphere called the “globus pallidus internus.” This reduces the brain activity in that area, which may help relieve abnormal motor symptoms such as tremor and stiffness (rigidity).
Life was normal for Jasmin for about a year after the pallidotomy. However, the tremors and rigidity eventually returned.
Almost nine years after her first surgery, she felt very lucky when she learned from her sister, a neurologist, that a team of Filipino doctors would conduct DBS surgery here in the Philippines.
This was to be done by a team of Filipino doctors from the Philippine Movement Disorder (PhilMove) Surgery Center in collaboration with a movement disorder surgery team from the University of Florida.
Jasmin immediately grabbed the opportunity and went to the PhilMove Surgery Center at Cardinal Santos Medical Center to have her DBS surgery.
As early as one month after her DBS surgery, Jasmin was very happy with the results. Her motor symptoms improved by 60 percent and her medication dose was reduced. She is expected to have more improvement with adjustments in her device in the coming months and might even be able to discontinue some of her medications.
DBS surgery involves the implantation of an electrode (thin flexible wire) into a small region deep into the brain. The electrode is connected to a pulse generator (pace maker) that is embedded underneath the skin of the chest.
The pulse generator contains a battery that generates a high frequency electrical current, which is delivered to the target area in the brain. The process alleviates the patient’s symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement or abnormal movements.
For further information about DBS, call the Philippine Movement Disorder Surgery Center at (632) 726-0776 or 727-7653 (facsimile) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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