3 posts tagged “Parkinson’s treatments”

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

Posted April 19th, 2018 by

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 National Parkinson Foundation (but check with your insurance company and your doctor to be sure)
  • 1,000 – the approximate number of hospitals and healthcare centers that perform DBS around the world
  • 1,000 – the number of DBS surgeries some of the most experienced neurosurgeons have performed; PatientsLikeMe member tip: “If you decide to go through with [DBS], be sure and ask how many procedures the surgeon has done. The more they do it, the less risk for you.”
  • 336 – PatientsLikeMe members who’ve reported having DBS for Parkinson’s disease (join the community today to connect with these members and ask questions)
  • 131 – PatientsLikeMe member evaluations of DBS as a treatment for PD (join/login to see all 131)
  • 10 – the number of factors that neurologists may consider when deciding whether a person with PD may be a good candidate for DBS (for example, see these guidelines from the University of California, San Francisco [UCSF] and the University of Florida Health)

Talk with your neurologist about whether you’re a candidate for DBS, and consider seeking a second opinion. Primary considerations typically include:

  • Having a clear diagnosis of idiopathic PD (rather than atypical PD or more complex “Parkinson’s plus” syndromes)
  • Having good cognitive function
  • Showing clear improvement of motor symptoms with sinemet treatment (“In general [DBS] surgery makes the ‘off’ states more like the ‘on’ states but rarely does better than the best ‘on’ state,” according to UCSF)

For even more info, check out the National Parkinson Foundation’s Guide to DBS Therapy.

On PatientsLikeMe, members have mentioned DBS more than 2,000 times in the PD forum, discussing everything from the decision to have DBS to programming a DBS device and DBS outcomes. One member even keeps a blog about his experience with DBS.

Are you considering DBS or are you already using it as a treatment for PD? Join 20,000+ members living with PD on PatientsLikeMe to talk about this and other treatments.

Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.


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

Posted December 15th, 2011 by

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.

Age at Which Patients Experienced Their First Parkinson's Symptom

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 patient writes about Sinemet on her evaluation:  “I notice my leg limp and motivation to walk improves dramatically when it kicks in. The tremor is much less.

Some of the Most Commonly Reported Treatments for Parkinson's, As Reported by PatientsLikeMe Members

Other commonly reported PD treatments include prescription medications such as Ropinirole (Requip), Pramipexole (Mirapex), Rasagiline (Azilect) and Amantadine; OTC supplements such as CoQ10; and surgical procedures such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).  Click on the treatment name to see the data we’ve amassed for each, including hundreds of treatment evaluations submitted by our patients.

This is just a sample of the wealth of experience and data to be found at PatientsLikeMe.  Dive in today to learn more about PD.