Many members of the Parkinson’s community will have heard of deep brain stimulation – a surgical procedure that is offered to individuals with particularly bad tremor or dyskinesias – but there is now another form of stimulation that is now being tested in people with PD.
Spinal cord stimulation has long been used as a therapy for back pain and research groups have recently been asking if this technique could be applied to Parkinson’s.
In today’s post we will discuss some recently published data that points towards certain aspects of the motor features of Parkinson’s that could benefit from spinal cord stimulation, particularly freezing of gait.
Deep brain stimulation electrodes implanted in the brain. Source: 2ndFriday
Deep brain stimulation (or DBS) has now become a routine treatment option for those in the Parkinson’s community with particularly debilitating motor features (such as severe tremor or dyskinesias).
First introduced in 1987, deep brain stimulation consists of three components: the pulse generator, an extension wire, and the leads (which the electrodes are attached to). All of these components are implanted inside the body. Similar to a pace maker for the heart, the DBS system is turned on, programmed and turned off remotely.
The electrodes that are implanted deep in the brain are tiny, and the very tip of the electrode has small metal plates (each less than a mm in width) which provide the pulses that will help mediate the activity in the brain.
DBS electrode tip. Source: Oxford
Interesting. How does it work?