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Pa Pa Doug

DBS what is reasonable to expect ?

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Everyone has seen the DBS video of the Parkinson's patient with the DBS on and off.  When off, the person has uncontrollable tremors. When the DBS is turned on ,the patient  becomes steady as a rock without the slightest sign of a tremor. As I have had the DBS implant for several years now, the question to me is are the people in the videos the exception or the rule ? I've always thought that even though I still have tremors and other problems from PD, that the implant has helped slow down the progression of the disease and the need for increased amounts of medicine required ?  Or is it a matter of severity of the tremors ?  Thank you  ! Doug

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First, I am very sorry for the delay in response to your question.  The system underwent an upgrade and the software change captured some questions which we have now located. Please accept our sincerest apology.

Many of the videos show the best possible outcome so may exaggerate the benefit.  However if the benefit is incomplete it could be due to programming, medications or suboptimal lead placement.

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May I add, I was one of those for whom the DBS worked very well for tremor. I could have been a  model for one of those videos! Had a big bad huge tremor before DBS, totally gone after (with a few rare minor exceptions occasionally when stressed, etc.) However, DBS has had many serious undesirable side effects: speech & language, gait & balance, falls, tongue biting, some drooling, etc. People judge me based on my bad speech & think I'm drunk or stupid. Has a huge social cost. Still worth it to me because of alleviation of the tremor, but be aware & only do it if  you think the possible trade-offs are worth it.

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Thanks for the comment.  Speech is very commonly affected especially with two leads and gait is also at risk.....however remember these issues will usually progress with or without DBS.  DBS can induce problems with slurred speech and also verbal fluency (getting words out of the mouth).

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