Providing resources and ideas for therapies and medical developments for Parkinson's disease:
The following are surgical options available for Parkinson's patients. None are cures, nor do they halt the progression of the disease but they do address the symptoms and can supplement pharmaceutical therapies.
Brain surgery is difficult because the CT or MRI images the doctor works with to navigate the brain are indicative of the moment when the images were taken. Once the surgeon enters the brain, the brain moves due to fluid changes. Also, any cut could cause one to lose function due to severing of a connection.
This surgical procedure embeds wires deep into the brain to connect an electrical power source to provide impulses to activate two basal ganglia regions of the brain (thalamus, subthalamic nucleus or globus pallidus) to improve motor symptoms such as tremors and dyskinesia. Inserting and targeting of the wire electrodes is planed using an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan along with recordings of regions of the brain thought to be causing the problems. The impulse generator (neurostimulator) and battery are surgically implanted (typically under the collar bone or in the abdomen) as well. A controller is available to the patient so that it can be turned on or off. This surgery is typically reserved for those with advanced progression of Parkinson's Disease whose symptoms cannot be adequately controlled with medications. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) treats the patient by interrupting problematic electrical brain signals from the targeted area of the brain that are causing Parkinson's symptoms such as tremors. A successful surgery is usually followed by a reduction of medication and the medication side-effects.
There are two DBS brain target options which are referred to as:
Both regions are equally effective at tremor suppression. The GPI is the larger of the two brain regions (450mm3 vs 150mm3) requiring more power to stimulate but is an easier target for the surgeon, when installing lead wires, with a smaller chance of error. There can be unintended effects and behavioral changes when neighboring regions are accidentaly stimulated. For each target region there are two additional options, unilateral or bilateral.
Pallidotomy surgery seeks to damage an overactive globus pallidus to lessen the symptoms of Parkinson's disease (tremor, bradykinesia, and balance problems). The globus pallidus balances the excitatory action of the cerebellum and when this system is out of ballance, it can lead to tremors and jerky movement.
Thalamotomy surgery seeks to damage an overactive thalamus to control the brain signals causing tremors. It is not often recommended for Parkinson's as it only affects tremors. The celebrity actor Micheal j. Fox had a thalamotomy in 1998, to treat his Parkinson's tremors, as reported in Wikipedia.