There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease. Treatment is typically focused on restoring dopamine levels through the administration of Dopaminergic medications.1 Current standards for patient care recommend levodopa as first-line therapy for the symptomatic control during the early, uncomplicated stages of PD. Unfortunately, chronic treatment with levodopa frequently leads to significant side effects, especially dyskinesias (involuntary movements) and motor fluctuations.2
Some additional therapies for the treatment of severe Parkinson’s disease symptoms include a pallidotomy (surgical procedure to destroy a tiny part of the globus pallidus by creating a scar) as well as deep brain stimulation (DBS). Both have been reported to help reduce symptoms of PD.3
The DBS procedure includes a modest medical device which sends signals to the brain. The signals help control the motor functions that are affected by movement disorder symptoms such as tremor, slowness and rigidity.
The physician will place one or two insulated wires called leads in the brain. The leads are then connected to the stimulator (similar to a pacemaker), which is typically placed under the skin in the chest. The device produces mild electrical impulses that stimulate a specific region of the brain. This may help regulate signaling in the brain, resulting in improvement of Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Although DBS is not a cure, it may help improve day-to-day experiences and quality of life. Most people will continue to take Parkinson's disease medications but often at a reduced dosage.