Brain implant for Parkinsons

Kathryn Aegis (
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 20:30:47 -0800 (PST)

As I sit here at the computer catching up on email, I have been watching the most uplifting report on Dateline NBC. They did a story about a woman who underwent brain surgery as part of a clinical trial to test the use of implanted electrodes stimulators to treat Parkinson's disease. The stimulator would take the place of normal dopamine emissions in the brain to control neural impulses. This woman's symptoms were very advanced, to the point that she depended on assistance for almost every life activity, including turning over in bed.

The surgery involved five or six hours of testing various spots in the brain to plant the electrode in one half of her brain to control symptoms on one side of her body. What amazed me was the machine they used--it provided an audio output of the electrical impulses generated by the brain's neurons--you could actually hear the normal impulses and the sound it made when a neuron misfired. After the electrode was implanted in the proper spot of the left hemisphere, almost all symptoms vanished from the right side of her body, and she had motor control again. Three months later, she agreed to undergo a second procedure to implant an electrode in the other half of her brain, and one month later she could not only walk but run and dance. Her wheelchair now sits in the garage. <snif>

Kathryn Aegis