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Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Deep Brain Stimulation

About one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, the second-most common neurodegenerative disorder in the United States, and unfortunately, 90,000 more are diagnosed each year. Parkinson’s disease causes both motor and nonmotor symptoms, and as the disease progresses, it can be hard to move, eat, and perform basic functions.

Our team of neurology specialists here at Link Neuroscience Institute is dedicated to helping our patients manage Parkinson’s disease. Medications and deep brain stimulation are both potential treatments available in our Oxnard and Santa Barbara, California, locations. 

Some medication for Parkinson’s disease helps boost dopamine in your brain, while other medication targets specific symptoms. In some cases, though, medication alone may not be enough to give you symptom relief. That’s where deep brain stimulation comes into the picture. 

Read on to learn what deep brain stimulation is and how it can help treat Parkinson’s disease. 

Understanding how Parkinson’s disease affects your brain

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects a specific area in your brain called the substantia nigra. When this area of your brain is compromised, it leads to a gradual degeneration of dopamine-producing cells. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps coordinate smooth and controlled muscle movements. 

As dopamine levels decline, you’re more likely to experience symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia (slowed movements), and postural instability. 

What is deep brain stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation is a surgical treatment for Parkinson’s disease. It involves the surgical implantation of a small device — often referred to as a neurostimulator or “brain pacemaker” — into specific areas of your brain. This device delivers electrical impulses to modulate (regulate) abnormal brain activity and alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms. 

In other words, deep brain stimulation works by targeting areas of your brain that show abnormal neurological activity. 

What happens during deep brain stimulation?

If your Link Neuroscience Institute provider determines that deep brain stimulation is right for you, you can expect the following steps.  

Placing the electrodes

Thin electrodes are precisely placed in the targeted brain region. The electrodes are connected to extensions that run under your skin to a pulse generator implanted near your upper chest.

Programming the device

Once implanted, the device is programmed to deliver electrical impulses. The intensity and frequency of these impulses can be adjusted to optimize symptom control.

Benefits of deep brain stimulation for Parksinson’s disease

Deep brain stimulation helps to reduce tremors, one of the hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s. Many individuals experience significant improvement in tremor control following their deep brain stimulation. 

Deep brain stimulation can also help with issues like bradykinesia and rigidity, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. You may experience smoother and more coordinated movements after your surgery.

As tremors and bradykinesia lessen, you may:

Whether you spot the early signs of Parkinson’s disease or you’re dealing with progressing symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Call our Oxnard or Santa Barbara, California, office to schedule your appointment.  You can also schedule your consultation online.

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