BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A patient with Parkinson's Disease is showing how technology is helping him manage his difficult symptoms.
The technology has been around for about 14 years, but now it is getting more attention than ever. A pacemaker for the brain and is producing results that are nothing short of amazing.
Paul Bolis has struggled with Parkinson's Disease for 11 years. His movement is slow. He has tremors and muscle stiffness. Sometimes his balance is off.
"When I'm tremoring, it's very difficult to do the everyday things, like taking a shower or just go out, go out for dinner," he explained.
But with the push of a button, Bolis can stop the tremors in his body.
"It's been a God send. It's given me the freedom to do things again. I've even returned to work part-time [as a car] valet over at Towne BMW,' Bolis said.
The device is called a Deep Brain Stimulator. A small battery is implanted in Bolis's chest and a thin wire extends into his brain.
No one can really prove how it works, but the electricity reaches the circuits in the brain that have been altered by Parkinson's Disease due to a loss of brain cells.
Dr. Rob Plunkett of University at Buffalo Neurosurgery said, "Patients with Parkinson's lose the chemical dopamine, and that leads to an altered circuit in the brain. The electricity actually normalizes that circuit."
Patients who benefit from the stimulator are no longer getting optimal results from medication. Pat Weigel is the coordinator of the deep brain stimulator program and president of the local chapter of the National Parkinson's Foundation.
"I see the families and the patients, their lives just really change is positive ways, as you've seen with Paul," she said.
Bolis added, "Anybody that's at the point of where their meds are no longer giving them a good quality of life, they really should consider having this done."
April to be Parkinson's Awareness Month. A hundred thousand patients worldwide have had deep brain stimulation. Of those, 85 percent will show improvement in their symptoms.
For more information, follow this link or call 716-218-1020 option #1.
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