Parkinson’s disease is a long-term, progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s. The symptoms for the disease usually develop slowly over time, and among the obvious are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty in walking. Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s, though there are medications that can slow the progression of symptoms.
Dr. Craig van Horne is an associate professor of neurosurgery with UK HealthCare. He focuses his research on cellular and surgical therapies for Parkinson’s disease.
Deep Brain Stimulation, or DBS, is a surgical procedure that uses electrodes to stimulate areas of the brain, effectively overriding the damaged nerve’s electrical impulses to reduce many of the symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease. Dr. van Horne is testing an experimental procedure called DBS+, which uses peripheral nerve tissue to prompt nerve regeneration and slow the disease process. Early data shows that DBS+ has improved symptoms for some patients, and van Horne hopes it will become the new “standard of care” for the treatment of Parkinson’s symptoms, improving quality of life for patients who are diminished by their disease.
On this episode of Behind the Blue, we sat down with Dr. van Horne to discuss DBS+, what this treatment may mean for Parkinson’s patients, and how this research can impact many other areas across the spectrum of healthcare.
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