Deep Brain Stimulation's Dramatic Effect On Parkinson's Patient Demonstrated

Friday, June 28, 2013

 Deep Brain Stimulation
Parkinson's disease sufferer Andrew Johnson underwent Deep Brain Stimulation surgery last year with dramatic results.  In a recent video Johnson shared on his blog he revealed what happens when the system is shut off.  The difference is dramatic.

Andrew Johnson was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson's Disease in 2009 when he was only 35 years old.

He lives with his wife and two children in Auckland, New Zealand. In November 2012 and February 2013 he underwent a surgical procedure, Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, to help control his motor symptoms.

This has been hugely beneficial to his quality of life. He is the author of a blog which he created to raise awareness of the effects of Parkinson's Disease.

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On his blog, Johnson posted the following, along with the video above:
I made this video [] as I was curious about what would happen when I turned my neuro-stimulator off. I am flying to Sydney tomorrow for a conference and didn’t want to be blind-sided if the screening device turned my DBS implant off (which has been known to happen). I hadn’t turned it off before, so this was quite the experience. Cheers, AJ

Johnson added some information to the video post on his blog as well:

1. This is a treatment, not a cure. Like all treatments people respond differently. Results may vary. 
2. DBS is not suitable for all Parkinson’s patients, but a select few whose motor symptoms cannot be controlled by medications. It does not stop the disease, nor does it slow it down, it acts as an adjunct therapy (in my case) to medications. Some people can get off the meds after DBS, I am not one of them. 
3. DBS does not help the many varied non motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. In fact, it could make them significantly worse. This is why stringent suitability criteria are applied. 
4. If you have PD listen to what your doctors are telling you, they know what they are doing and they’ve seen it before. This is not a miracle cure, it is a proven treatment which happened to work for me quite spectacularly, but that was because a subset of my symptoms were ones most likely to respond to the surgery. It’s not a case of I got lucky though, I was carefully screened for suitability.
Parkinson's disease infographic

SOURCE  Young and Shaky

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