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Essential tremor patient regains independence following surgery
Date:3/26/2012

any tingling or pulling in the arms, legs or face. In Tom's case, we asked him to mimic bringing a glass to his mouth because this was something that was impacted greatly by his tremor."

Rogers immediately felt a change when his surgical team found the right spot in his brain. "It was instantaneous," he recalled. "I said 'Doc, you found ground zero.' It was shaking and then all of a sudden it stopped."

A permanent electrode is placed once the correct location is found and the surgical team tests it by turning on the charge. They look for both a decrease in tremor, as well as any unwanted side effects. Once satisfied with the location, the electrode is secured and the patient is put back under general anesthesia for the remainder of the surgery. In the months following surgery, the implanted battery pack is programmed to achieve the optimal balance between stimulation and medication.

"Following surgery, we work with the patient to tailor the level of stimulation and treatment to their needs," said Cindy Zadikoff, MD, a movement disorders specialist at Northwestern Memorial and assistant professor of neurology at the Feinberg School, who helps select patients for DBS surgery and has special expertise in programming the stimulation devices. "In rare cases, the surgery itself turns off the tremor by causing what is known as a micro-lesion effect. Tom was one of these unique situations; in more than six months since surgery his device has not been turned on and his tremor has not returned."

DBS surgery allowed Rogers to regain use of his left hand and gave him the ability to do things that most people take for granted like write checks to pay his bills or drink a glass of water. "My hand is steady as a rock, it's amazing," Rogers said. "It's like I've been given back a new life."

Along with essential tremor, DBS is approved as a treatment for other movement disorders including Parkinson's and dystonia. Brain stimulation
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Contact: Megan McCann
memccann@nmh.org
312-926-5900
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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