AUGUSTA, Ga. – If you or someone you know is among the one million Americans with Parkinson’s disease or the 10 million living with essential tremor, then deep brain stimulation could improve quality of life.
Find out more about this advanced procedure from medical experts with the Georgia Regents Movement Disorders Program during a free seminar from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at Double Tree Hotel, 2651 Perimeter Parkway.
Deep brain stimulation, or DBS, is not a cure for movement disorders, but it can successfully treat symptoms by disrupting the abnormal patterns of brain activity that become prominent in Parkinson’s, essential tremor, and other neurological disorders. It is often described as a brain “pacemaker” because constant pulses of electrical charge are delivered at settings that are thought to restore normal brain rhythms, allowing more normal movements.
A specially trained neurosurgeon places the device, and a neurologist adjusts the settings to optimize therapy. Most patients are able to resume many normal activities in a short time.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Cole Giller and neurologists Drs. John Morgan and Deborah Boland will explain DBS, including what to expect during and after surgery. In addition, several patients will talk about their personal experiences and how DBS has improved their lives.
Parkinson’s disease involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As the disease progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally. Symptoms vary, but most patients experience tremors of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face.
Often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s, essential tremor is characterized by rhythmic shaking that occurs during voluntary movement or while holding a position against gravity, such as raising a hand in the air. Most often it affects only the hands, but the head, voice and legs can sometimes succumb.
Registration for the seminar is not required, but it is encouraged. To register, please visit gru.edu/parkinsons. For more information, call Amanda Stefanakos, Outreach Coordinator for the Georgia Regents Movement Disorders Program, at 706-721-4895.
Georgia Regents has the only nationally designated Movement Disorders/Parkinson’s Disease Center of Excellence in Georgia or South Carolina.