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Could DBS help Parkinson's symptoms?

Could DBS help Parkinson's symptoms?
22nd July 2014

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) could be one effective way to help to regulate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD).

The Daily Express interviewed 53-year-old Andy King, who underwent this form of surgery in a bid to improve the symptoms of his neurological condition.

It is believed as many as 80 per cent of those who have DBS will experience benefits from it, but currently not many UK individuals are offered it. It involves a small hole being made in the scalp and an electrical current being passed through the brain. 

Mr King told the newspaper the surgery had "made a huge difference" to his life, having been diagnosed with PD in 2000. Within four weeks of having DBS, he noticed the changes. 

"The benefits have far outstripped my expectations. I used to have to walk on my tiptoes, then one morning about six weeks after the operation I noticed that my heels were firmly on the ground.

"I went outside and ran around the garden. It was the first time my daughter had ever seen me run."

Before the surgery, Mr King conceded the medication he was using was becoming less effective in controlling his tremor and getting across London at rush hour for his job was a scary experience. He added how he was beginning to not answer his phone because his speech was being adversely affected by PD. 

While DBS is not a cure for PD - nor will it halt the onset - it can help to manage the symptoms better. The studies that have been carried out so far have produced positive results and it is thought the effects could last for up to 15 years. 

Approximately 127,000 individuals in the UK currently have PD. There are a variety of symptoms, which range from tremors, slowness of movement and stiffness. Individuals with this neurological condition do not produce sufficient dopamine. 

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