The Fox Focus 2021 Spring/Summer - Page 12

10 The Power of Research

Deep Brain Stimulation Gets Personal

While deep brain stimulation has been used to treat PD for over 20 years , new advances in the technology are helping make it more personalized to improve quality of life for people living with Parkinson ’ s . The procedure involves surgically implanting electrodes in the brain , so electrical pulses can be delivered at certain rates to control tremor and other disabling motor symptoms associated with Parkinson ’ s disease .
Recently , two devices have improved the programming of the DBS systems after surgery , requiring fewer doctor ’ s visits and more personalized control of symptoms . Abbott ’ s Infinity DBS allows people to video chat with their doctors and receive adjustments remotely , at home or any location with WiFi or cellular access . Another system , Medtronic ’ s Percept , records brain activity automatically , so doctors can adjust DBS settings to control specific symptoms based on the data collected .
To develop the next step in DBS – a system that adjusts its stimulation automatically based on brain activity — MJFF is funding a team at the University of California , San Francisco . This “ adaptive ” DBS could potentially sense a person ’ s individual brain signals and deliver therapy as needed when those signals indicate medication wearing off or dyskinesia , for example .
The DBS procedure has helped control Parkinson ’ s symptoms for Richie Rothenberg , Michael J . Fox Foundation Patient Council member .
“ It took about two years of going in every month or so for a different tweaking of the DBS settings .”
— Richie Rothenberg , who underwent DBS in 2011 .
MJFF also has funded the Registry for the Advancement of Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy in Parkinson ’ s Disease ( RAD-PD ) to learn how different people respond to DBS over time . The aim is to capture data directly from a large group of individuals , and their doctors , to find clues that improve DBS treatment procedures and patient outcomes . Launched in the fall of 2018 , the registry has 10 participating centers and plans to activate 10 additional centers across Canada and the United States . As research continues , DBS may offer many more people living with Parkinson ’ s a way to take control of their disease . Learn more at rad-pd . org .
PHOTO BY EVAN DUNING