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Deep brain stimulation research expands at Barrow
Date:3/9/2011

ir abnormal connections in patients who have movement and psychiatric disorders. There also exists the tantalizing prospect that with deep brain stimulators these abnormal pathways can be made to function in a more normal manner. This has the potential to make a dramatic difference in the lives of these patients. The Barrow Neurological Institute will be one of a small handful of medical institutions worldwide that are doing serious research to improve the lives of these patients with neuromodulation."

Deep brain stimulation involves the implantation of an electrode deep to a target area deep within the brain that is associated with a disorder. A pacemaker then sends electrical signals to the brain, alleviating symptoms. While DBS is the cornerstone of the new Barrow center, other neuromodulation therapies including transcranial magnetic stimulation and low frequency ultrasonic therapy will also be developed.

Since 1995 when DBS became available as a treatment for movement disorders, more than 80,000 people have been implanted with a deep brain stimulation device. Barrow currently conducts about 75 deep brain stimulation surgeries a year on Parkinson's patients. One of the early focuses of the new center will be use of DBS for patients with treatment-resistant depression. Barrow has already launched a research trial that will advance deep brain stimulation as a treatment for depression. (see attached sidebar)

Francisco Ponce, MD, is director of the center. A Barrow-trained neurosurgeon, Dr. Ponce received sub-specialty training in functional neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. Following his undergraduate studies at Harvard, he pursued graduate work in materials science at the University of Oxford before earning his medical degree from the University of Chicago in 2004.

"This is one of the most exciting and promising areas of modern medicine. Through neuromodulation, we can improve and restore function in
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Contact: Lynne Reaves
lynne.reaves@chw.edu
602-406-4734
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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