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Parkinson's Disease & Tremor

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative brain disease which has several symptoms, including rigidity (stiff movements), bradykinesia (slowness of movement, with freezing or falling episodes), and tremor (a pill-rolling movement of the fingers). Depletion of a brain neurotransmitter (called dopamine) has been found in patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, and a drug which worked well initially (called L-DOPA) substituted this lost chemical, allowing regaining of function. Unfortunately, worsening of symptoms despite being on L-DOPA (or Sinemet, or other related medications) occurs, with side effects including abnormal movements called drug-induced dyskinesias. To help treat patients further, new advances in neurosurgery including “deep brain stimulation (DBS)” have been used with high initial success rates in improving symptoms and quality of life for properly selected patients (see "Treatments & Testimonials" section for further information). As the only neurosurgery practice in the region presently to offer treatment for Parkinson’s disease, we try to work closely with a patient’s neurologist or primary care doctor, to offer the best possible care.

Tremor (abnormal rhythmic shaking movement of arms, legs, head, or voice without any change in consciousness) falls into two main categories which we treat. Essential tremor (also known as familial tremor) runs in families, worsens with trying to do certain activities (such as feeding onself or writing), and typically has an excellent treatment result with deep brain stimulation (DBS, see "Treatments & Testimonials" section) for arm tremor in our experience and the world experience. Tremor associated with Parkinson’s disease is different since it is present at rest (without any activity), and looks like someone rolling a pill (“pill-rolling tremor”); this can also be helped with DBS.

Last Modified: March 2, 2010

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