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New advances in technology can help those with Parkinson’s

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 8:59 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Every single year, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.

Many Parkinson’s disease symptoms involve losing the ability to control your muscles and movement, making daily activities like performing at work, writing and even getting dressed difficult or even impossible. This loss of movement control and reliance on others can make people feel as though they are missing out on important aspects of life and relationships with spouses, family and friends.

When Parkinson’s medications still work but become less effective, deep brain stimulation therapy, or DBS, is a treatment option to help control some of the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s like shaking, slowed movement and stiffness.

DBS therapy uses a small pacemaker-like device, placed under the skin of the chest, to send electrical signals through very thin wires to an area in the brain that controls movement. To provide relief, these signals block some of the brain messages that cause the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s.

For many people with Parkinson’s, DBS can offer a new lease on life, allowing them to live more independently and pursue their passions, whatever they may be.

As April marks National Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Dr. Joohi Shahed, movement disorders neurologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, and a patient living with PD discussed the latest technology surrounding DBS and how it can help improve or relieve movement symptoms of Parkinson’s. Dr. Shahed said that DBS therapy isn’t for everyone, however, so it’s best to talk to your doctor about whether this option could work for you.

Find more about DBS here.

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