How Brain Pacemakers Treat Parkinson’s Disease

How Brain Pacemakers Treat Parkinson’s Disease

Installation of pacemakers in Parkinson's patients

A pacemaker has been implanted in a Parkinson's patient's brain through surgery called 'Deep Brain Stimulation'.


A Bangladeshi doctor has put a 'pacemaker' on the body of a person suffering from a neurological disease. The operation was performed at the National Institute of Neurosciences and Hospitals (NINSH) in the capital on Saturday. It is led by a prominent neurosurgeon in India. Anirban Island Banerjee.


A Parkinson's patient had a pacemaker implanted in his brain yesterday called 'Deep Brain Stimulation' as part of a workshop, hospital authorities said. Three more patients are scheduled to undergo the same surgery on Sunday. All four are suffering from chronic neuropathy.


A team of doctors and nurses was seen entering the operating theater at 11:30 am yesterday. According to the hospital authorities, the doctors first examined and reviewed the condition of the patient's brain.  It takes about three hours. Then the surgery started around 2.30 pm. It ends at six o'clock. Several doctors who took part in the surgery last evening told Prothom Alo that the surgery was successful.

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Until now, pacemakers have been used to treat people with heart disease. A pacemaker is an electronic device used to overcome a weak or irregular heartbeat. After long research, the same technology can be used for some people with neurological impairment.


About the application and use of deep brain stimulation technology, doctors said, a hole is made in the skull. Through that hole, two wired electrodes are placed deep in the brain. On the other hand, a battery or pacemaker is placed under the skin of the patient's chest. It is associated with two pacemakers. The battery provides regular power. Through this electricity is transmitted to the depths of the brain. This stimulates the inactive nerve cells.


Anirban Dwivedi Banerjee described the procedure to the doctors in a ceremony held in the morning before the surgery started. “It’s like a heart pacemaker,” he said. It is placed in the brain instead of the heart. But the hardest thing is to put it in the right place in the brain. If the placement is less than one millimeter back and forth, the result may not be good.


Anirban Dwivedi Banerjee is the joint director of the Medanta Institute of Neurosurgery, Delhi. He has so far used this technology in the body of more than two and a half hundred people suffering from neuropathy.


It is said that human brain cells often become dry or dull. This causes multiple neurological diseases. Parkinson's disease is one of them. Parkinson's patients are better off with medication. Then the medicine becomes ineffective. Physicians and scientists have found that deep brain stimulation surgery can keep a patient well. The patient does not recover completely. However, the patient can lead a normal life.


According to the hospital authorities, one pacemaker costs 12 lakh rupees. They bought four pacemakers from a US company. The Ministry of Health paid. This device will be implanted in the body of four patients free of cost.


Speaking at the inaugural function, the director of the hospital, Professor Kazi Deen Mohammad, said that the workshop would create courage and enthusiasm among the doctors of the country. Physicians will learn and take advantage of this specialized service.


Deep brain stimulation technology was first used in the country in 2016 in this same organization. Tipu Aziz, a Bangladeshi doctor living in the United States, led the operation. Then the matter did not move forward. There was a problem getting the pacemaker because of the high price. If the government provides pacemakers, the institution will be able to perform regular surgeries, the surgeons said.


Doctors say deep brain stimulation surgery is not the work of one or two surgeons. This requires a team of specialist doctors. This group will include: Urologist, Neurosurgeon, Psychiatrist, Neuroradiologist, Neuropsychologist, Anesthesiologist. Dr. Banerjee helped Anirban Island yesterday. Zahirul Haque Chowdhury, Dr.  Selim Shahi, Dr. Physicians of the movement disorder team of the organization including Jalaluddin Rumi.


★Outbreaks of Parkinson's disease


Although the risk of Parkinson's disease is higher in the elderly, the disease is being diagnosed in 40-year-olds in the country. It is possible to prolong the life of a person if the disease is detected at an early stage and treatment is started quickly.


Experts say that people with Parkinson's disease have trembling limbs, reduced walking speed, stiffened muscles, and many of the sufferers lose their balance.


This disease can be due to age. There may be hereditary reasons. Side effects of some drugs cause Parkinson's. This disease occurs in a person suffering from a stroke. This disease can occur even if the head is injured.


★Government initiatives are needed


Parkinson's and other neurological diseases are on the rise in the country. In comparison, there is a shortage of specialist doctors and medical institutions. The cost of medical equipment becomes a major obstacle to the treatment of such diseases. One of the reasons for not having such treatment in 2016 was the high price of this new technology. Patients are treated free of cost in government institutions. It is difficult for the hospital authorities to provide such high cost technology free of cost. Specialist doctors are telling the government to come forward in this case.


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