Medical Advances: New Treatment Options for Parkinson's - WKRN News 2


This hour long special offers an intriguing look into ground-breaking medical advances that are actually improving the lives of those with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia, as well as giving hope to many others.

Tens of thousands of people who experience movement disorders associated with Parkinson's, and a variety of other neurological conditions, stand to benefit from a new guidance system developed by Vanderbilt researchers that uses computerized brain-mapping techniques to significantly improve DBS surgery.

DBS has proven to be highly effective in the treatment of movement disorders when standard drug therapies either do not work or have lost their effectiveness.

In order to perform DBS surgery, physicians in the past used a heavy metal frame to stabilize the patient's head for imaging and during the lengthy procedure. For the past four years, Vanderbilt has been the pioneering medical center for testing a customized miniature stereotactic platform, which has proved much more comfortable to patients, and provided better accuracy for locating critical areas during surgery.

Peter Konrad, M.D., associate professor of Neurosurgery, along with Vanderbilt biomedical engineers, have pioneered the use of a computer-aided guidance system for accurate placement of DBS electrodes. This system is used to analyze electrophysiological information to resolve structures not visible in anatomic images, thus improving both preoperative and intra-operative guidance.

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