Deep Brain Stimulation Works For Me 

I had a DBS (deep brain stimulator) installed in 2014 and am happy to report great success, in my case. Before I unlocked my noggin, I interviewed a dozen or more people who had this operation. Hearing mostly good things, I took the plunge.

I love the future, or at least, I love reading about it. Things are going to be great in the future. No more sickness, no mass starvation, no political strife, no us. Hey wait a minute, no more us? Well, what the writer of my current book is trying to communicate is that we will slowly become a highly altered being in the future, perhaps equal parts biology and technology. That could be very interesting.

Deep brain stimulation is just a piece of the pie

In many ways, I feel I have a ‘head’ start. That’s a pun you are just about to get, you see, I have a DBS (deep brain stimulator) in my head. Two of them as a matter of fact. I’m Stereo Man!!

My experience with this technological wonder has been very good. A very experienced surgeon installed my DBS and I have a dedicated technician at my neurologist’s office who tweaks the signal emitting from the transmitters to my brain. She does it using a handheld device or her computer, using Bluetooth communication technology. The symptom relief experience is altered by adjusting the position and signal intensity of the transmitting diodes lodged in the brain. The funny thing is that scientists know that DBS works, but they don’t exactly know how and why it works. Hmm?

With DBS, everyone has different needs. My signal transmission controls dystonia in my feet and tremor in my right leg. It also controls the dyskinesia which occurs from prolonged, heavy use of orally consumed Levodopa, which is still, after 60 years, considered the gold standard treatment of PD symptoms. Levodopa is essentially synthetic dopamine, the very chemical Parkies cannot produce enough of naturally. Dopamine facilitates the transmission of movement instruction packets through the maze of neurons in the brain and out to an extremity where the extremity (hand, eyelid, foot, or any other muscle) contracts or expands accordingly to produce the desired movement.

Can’t get spare parts easily

There are 3 parts to a current version of a DBS:

    1. Transmitter(s) lodged in one’s chest, or in an armpit
    2. A set of 3 diodes at the end of a short length of wire which targets the exact spots in the brain deemed most beneficial in producing symptom relief. Different areas produce different results.
    3. A wire connecting the transmitter in the chest to the diodes in the brain. Wireless tech ought to remove this piece in the very near future.

Not everybody has had the degree of success I have experienced with DBS. I have talked to Parkies who have DBS installed, but turned off after ten years of use. I have had mine about 3 years, and my batteries in the transmitters will need replacing within a year. This will require chest surgery to do the transmitter battery replacements. This surgery is more uncomfortable than the brain surgery which is painless. After my brain surgery, I was golfing again within a few days. Not so with the chest insertion of transmitters. But, both were a piece of cake.

So, back to the future. I have already started my journey into the future. I am sure before it’s over I will be swallowing pills with cameras inside them to replace the uncomfortable colonoscopies, or maybe I’ll pop out my bad eye and retrofit a bionic one that also contains a camera in it, so I can record what I see.

Growing marketplace for DBS causing price reductions

Another note about DBS, they have discovered another use for the DBS, as a depression management tool. Enlarging markets ought to spur the advancement of the technology and reduce the cost for Parkies.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ParkinsonsDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (3)

Poll