If you are suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD) or have a family member who has the disease, you know all too wellhowitcandisruptone’slife. PDisone of the most prevalent movement disor- ders and the one that all of us are familiar with. A movement disorder is a condition that arises in the brain and either caus- es unwanted, excessive movements or slows down movements. The typi- cal motor symptoms of PD are shaking hands or legs at rest, stiffness, slowness and reduced amplitude of movements. It also causes a wide range of symptoms unrelated to movements called non mo- tor symptoms such as depression, anx- iety, slowness of thinking, pain, reduced sense of smell, sleep, bladder, bowel,sweating disturbances, etc.
PD is a progressive disease that can affect 1 in 100 persons over the age of 60. Over time, it can affect one's daily activities and reduce the quality of life. The motor symptoms are primarily due to degeneration of cells that produce a neurotransmitter dopamine in a circuit that regulates movements. The non motor symptoms are due to similar changes affecting different regions of the brain. The medical treatment of PD is initiated by the neurologist when motor symptoms start interfering with everyday life of the individual. The mainstay of medical treatment is replacing a precursor of dopamine (levodopa) in the brain. Although dopamine replacement therapy can significantly improve the motor symptoms in the early years, fluctuations appear in treatment responses later. These fluctuations range from losing the ability to perform the simplest daily tasks when the effect of levodopa wears off to severe unwanted dance- like movements (dyskinesias) due to dysregulated release of dopamine in the brain as more brain cells get affected by the disease. These complications are a significant limitation to the long-term medical treatment of PD.
Fortunately, medications are not the only treatment available for PD. An advanced, FDA-approved treatment, called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), introduced 20 years ago, can help alleviate the complications of medical treatment. It is superior to medical treatment and proven to be effective not only in those who have had more prolonged disease for 10 or more years but also for patients in the early years when motor complications to medical treatment begin to appear. Nearly 200,000 patients worldwide have received DBS, and about 400 DBS procedures are done in India every year in centres with established DBS programs. DBS offers new hope to patients who have been on drugs for years and have struggled with the fluctuations in their response to medications and the side effects of drugs.
DBS works similar to a cardiac pacemaker but in the brain circuits controlling movement. DBS involves placing two thin electrodes within the abnormal brain circuit and connecting the outer tip of the electrode to a programmable pacemaker-like device called IPG or implantable pulse generator. It is placed under the skin of the chest and electrical stimulation can be adjusted with a remote controller like device. This technique can drastically improve the performance of the abnormal brain circuits and work as effectively as medicines in reducing the motor symptoms of PD and unlike drugs, continuously and without the side effects of medications.
Aster Medcity Kochi has a dedicated Parkinson & Movement Disorder Centre and DBS program consisting of an exceptionally experienced team of movement-disorder specialist, functional neurosurgeons, neuro anaesthetists, neuropsychologist, and physiotherapists. An experienced and proficient multidisciplinary team is critical for getting the best outcomes from DBS therapy in PD that enable patients to finally enjoy a more independent life. As a front runner in providing comprehensive and highly advanced niche services, the Parkinson & Movement Disorder Centre at Aster Medcity brings you individualized and affordable treatment with excellent results comparable to the best in the West. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, cutting edge technology and a team with members who have over two decades of experience in DBS treatment, Aster Medcity has become one of the leading DBS centres in India in a short time.