The device that reduces the tremble of Parkinson’s disease

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Parkinson’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease, slowly progressive, that mainly involves the areas of the brain related to movement and balance.

The symptoms of the disease are both at motor and at cognitive level, for example tremble, rigidity, bradykinesia, postural instability and executive dysfunction. Both men and women, aged around 58-60 years, can be affected.

The causes of this disease are unknown, but it is often linked to certain genetic mutations (the most important genes identified are alpha-synuclein (PARK 1/PARK 4), parkin (PARK-2), PINK1 (PARK-6), DJ-1 (PARK-7), LRRK2 (PARK-8) and the glucocerebrosidase (GBA)), and to toxic and work factors.

The risk of contracting the disease increases with the exposure to toxins such as pesticides, hydrocarbon solvents and heavy metals (iron, zinc, copper).

Today there is still no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but it is possible to give relief to the patient with drug therapies.

In Catanzaro, however, in the Centre of Regional Reference for Functional and Stereotactic Neurosurgery of the University Hospital “Materdomini”, a new treatment has been tested for the first time: the implantation of a device for deep brain stimulation (DBS) with pacing leads. The device implanted in the patient emits mild electrical stimulations that reach the brain through thin pacing leads. These electrical impulses stimulate the brain to move the muscles only in a certain way promoting the improvement of motor coordination, reducing trembles and decreasing muscle stiffness.

The operation has been carried out at the hospital by a team coordinated by prof. Angelo Lavano, Director of Neurosurgery/Centre of Regional Reference for Functional and Sterotactic of the University Hospital “Materdomini”, in collaboration with Dr. Angelo Franzini, director of the Third Division of Neurosurgery at the Neurological Institute Besta in Milan.

The doctors had also the support of the team led by prof. Aldo Quattrone, operational director of Neurology, and prof. Umberto Sabatini, director of Neuroradiology.

It was the first time that pacing leads connected to a neuro stimulation Vercise PC device, developed by Boston Scientific and distributed by For Medical, were employed.

Which are the benefits? The leads provide accuracy in the stimulation of brain areas, significantly reducing complications and side effects.

The effectiveness of the treatment has been proved since the first hours after implantation as the patient, aged 30, confirmed the reduction of the tremble.

Cecilia Natale

About Cecilia Natale

Cecilia is a translator. She has a bachelor degree in Intercultural and linguistic communication and a master degree in Specialized translation, both obtained at the University of Bologna – Forlì Branch. She loves travelling, reading, writing and she never gets tired of discovering new places and cultures. She’s from Porto San Giorgio, a small city near the sea in the region Marche, in Italy. After various academic experiences in Barcelona, the city has become her second home.

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