Madurai: Claiming that taking medications for a long time could cause several harmful side effects to people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, doctors here on Thursday said that performing a deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedure could be a better alternative for such patients.
The doctors were speaking at a DBS awareness camp for patients, which was organised by Miot International Hospitals, Chennai, on the day of World Parkinson’s Day on Thursday (April 11).
According to the doctors, when a patient with Parkinson’s disease takes medications for a long time, it could lead to side effects like hallucinations, confusional state and uncontrolled and involuntary muscle movement of dyskinesia. But doctors said that by performing DBS – which is similar to fitting a pacemaker among cardiac patients – the medications could be reduced, thus reducing the side effects by more than 50%.
DBS uses a keyhole procedure to implant electrodes in the motor-related areas of the brain. The electrodes are connected to a pacemaker-like device which is placed beneath the skin near the collar bone. The pacemaker-like device is linked to a remote with the patient. When the remote turns on the device, electrical impulses are sent to the affected parts of the brain through the electrodes, thus reducing the symptoms of the disease.
“But this procedure isn’t suitable for all Parkinson’s patients. There are two types of Parkinson’s diseases – idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD) and Parkinson’s plus disease and DBS is suited only for the former. The suitability also depends on that particular patient,” said interventional neurologist and DBS specialist, MIOT International, Chennai, Dr Shankar Balakrishnan. He added that even for the patients with IPD, the procedure should be done only five years after the onset of the disease.
Parkinson’s disease usually occurs among one out of every 100 people who are over 60 and four major symptoms of the disease include tremor usually in one side of the body, stiffness of muscles, postural instability and slowness in doing activities. The cost of DBS costs around Rs 8.5lakh. Experts said that it cannot completely cure the disease, but could help patients recover significantly.