From the Inside Out: Deep Brain Stimulation Designed to Control Parkinson's Disease


Resa King, whose life was drastically altered by early onset Parkinson's disease, decided to try deep brain stimulation when her medication no longer worked.

Eventually, if all these medications fail, we start thinking about other types of therapy, like deep brain stimulation.

-Jaimie Henderson, MD, Director, Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, Stanford Hospital & Clinics

Deep brain stimulation cannot remove all the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, but, for King, it has made it possible for her to return to most of the activities she had to give up.

Before Resa King had surgery to implement a pacemaker-like device in her brain, she would not have been able to hold a glass for fear of breaking it. The side effects of medications for Parkinson's can cause abnormal, unpredictable and involuntary moevements.

We're exploring, listening to the brain, to the chatter of what the neurons are doing just to do a very simple movement.

-Helen Bronte-Stewart, MD, MSE, Director, Comprehensive Movement Disorders Center, Stanford Hospital & Clinics

Parkinson's disease affected Resa King's ability to do even the simplest of tasks. The movement disorder, which typically develops in people over age 65, can slow speech, gait and thinking. The surgery King had gave her back a control of her body she had not known in years.

People who saw me before and after−their reaction was astonishing. Their jaws dropped and they said, 'Wow, Resa, you look so great!'

-Resa King, patient, Stanford Hospital & Clinics