deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) by the numbers, 30 years in

Now that deep-brain stimulation (DBS) — a groundbreaking treatment for Parkinson’s disease — has been around for just over 30 years in the U.S., check out some stats and data about it. Plus, see how many members of the PatientsLikeMe community have had DBS and what they’ve said about it. What is DBS and how does it work? DBS is a procedure that uses a surgically implanted, battery-operated device called an implantable pulse generator (IPG) — similar to a heart pacemaker and about the size of a stopwatch. The IPG delivers electrical stimulation to specific areas in the brain that control movement, blocking the abnormal nerve signals that cause Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptoms. Take a look at some key dates, stats and facts related to DBS: 1987 – the year that French neurosurgeon Dr. Alim-Louis Benabid developed modern DBS 1997 – the year that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved DBS in the U.S. 100,000+ – the number of people who’ve had DBS surgery $35,000 to $50,000 – the cost of DBS surgery (bilateral procedures may cost upwards of $70,000 to $100,000); Medicare and most private insurance carriers will cover most, if not all, of the costs of the operation, according to the …

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Spotlighted Author: Parkinson’s Humorist Bev Ribaudo on Dispensing Laughter

PatientsLikeMe member Bev Ribaudo (“YumaBev”) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) at age 47, but it hasn’t dampened her flair for comedy.  “Humor comes naturally to me, and a little disease like Parkinson’s can’t take it away,” she says. In fact, her condition has given her a new purpose:  entertaining other “Parkies” with her deep reservoir of funny stories.  She began a blog called Parkinson’s Humor, and most recently, she’s collected the tales from her blog into a book, Parkinson’s Humor:  Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson’s (available in paperback and Kindle editions).  Find out what she’s gotten out of sharing her sense of humor in our interview. 1. Tell us about the role that humor plays in your life – and why it’s so important. Humor has always been a part of my life. Both of my parents had good senses of humor; they needed it with five accident-prone kids. I had a lot of tragedy in my life when I was young – my first husband died in a car crash when I was 23 and my mother died of lung cancer 15 months later. She used to joke about her bald head (from chemo) and pretty …

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Observing Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Since 2010, April has been designated as Parkinson’s Awareness Month by the US Senate.  The goal is to shine a spotlight on the national impact of Parkinson’s disease (PD), which affects more than one million Americans.  A progressive disorder of the nervous system, PD is often marked by muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, decreased mobility, stooped posture, slow voluntary movements and a mask-like facial expression. Parkinson’s activists been coming together for the last 17 years for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk, held annually in New York City’s Central Park at the end of April.  (The 2012 event takes place on Saturday April 28th.)  Now, with Parkinson’s Awareness Month surrounding it, there is a month-long effort to raise awareness and research funds.  One of the driving reasons is that PD complications are the 14th leading cause of death in the US. PD was one of the flagship conditions at PatientsLikeMe, and today we have more than 6,100 patients who report the disease.  What are they doing to cope?  Some of the most commonly reported treatments include prescription drugs such as Carbidopa-Levodopa (Sinemet), Ropinirole (Requip), and Rasagiline (Azilect); procedures such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and acupuncture; and supplements such as CoEnzyme Q10.  Click …

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Life with Parkinson’s Disease: What We’ve Learned

On Tuesday, our interview with blogger Steve Ploussard of “Attitude & Fitness Wins” revealed how one person is managing his Parkinson’s disease (PD).  Today we take a closer look at this progressive neurological condition using the data and experiences shared by our 5,920 PD members. Taking a look at the makeup of our PD community, 52% are male, and 48% are female.  More than 98% identify PD as their primary condition, and just shy of 20% report experiencing their first symptom between the ages of 50 and 59.  Others report experiencing their first symptom anywhere from adolescence to their seventies.  (See the chart for a complete breakdown.)  What exactly are the symptoms of this condition?  Some of the most commonly reported include stiffness/spasticity, slowness, sexual dysfunction, memory problems, excessive daytime drowsiness and constipation. As Steve’s interview revealed, Carbidopa-Levodopa (Sinemet) is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for PD as it helps to control tremors, one of the most visible manifestations of the disease, and other movement dysfunctions.  Currently, more than 1,698 members report taking this medication, and 300+ of them have submitted Sinemet treatment evaluations, which review the drug’s effectiveness, side effects, dosage, cost and more.   Here’s what one …

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The Patient Voice | Episode 3: When a Community “Becomes Family”

“I’ve met a lot of people from all over the world, we are all one happy family.” – Vigwig Around and around we go, strap on in for Episode 3 of our podcast series, “The Patient Voice.”   To continue with the PatientsLikeMe Parkinson’s Disease (PD) quilt story, our guest today is community member VigWig. A few years back, VigWig underwent surgery for DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation). As word spread throughout the community, Vigwig’s online friends arranged for the quilt to be there waiting for him when he returned to his room from surgery. Inspired by his Parkinson’s “family” (as he calls them), VigWig plays a more active role in the PatientsLikeMe PD community, and in raising awareness about PD. His story was published in the The Courier of Montgomery County, and VigWig submitted quilt patches to Parkinson’s Quilt Project (coordinated by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation and displayed at the World Parkinson’s Congress). An honest-to-goodness story about an online “family” rallying together to support one of their own…here is our interview with VigWig.

Parkinson’s Disease: Real-World Data, Real-World Experiences

It’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month. As we continue to spread the word about this condition, we wanted to tell you a little bit more about our PatientsLikeMe Parkinson’s community. Launched two years ago this month, the community has steadily grown to include more than 3,400 patients. Below are some interesting facts about the community, as well as an interview with one of our members (“PokieToo”) giving her real-world experience of living with condition. WHAT’S IT LIKE LIVING WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE (PD)? Meet PokieToo.  A long-time member of our PD community, she tells us how she continues to “look for the sunshine” while “taking 30 pills a day.”   “Out there for the next person,” PokieToo gives us a glimpse of the real-world experiences of living with Parkinson’s disease. DID YOU ALSO KNOW… More than 1,500 of our patient members are 50-yrs old or older 140+ of our patient members have inherited Parkinson’s disease (PD), and a handful of people have the less common drug-induced Parkinsonism and Vascular Parkinsonism Approximately 10% of our patient members (or 331) are Young-Onset Parkinson’s patients; that is, they report having experienced their first symptom before the age of 40. How are our members treating their condition? Patients …

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