Brain surgery for Parkinson's Disease

Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 10:33 AM EDT
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(06/08/2020) -- Parkinson’s disease can cause tremors, loss of balance and more importantly, loss of control. But for one smart, outgoing university professor, brain surgery, called deep brain stimulation, gave him a second chance at life, after finally getting the upper hand on Parkinson’s.

“It’s made a profound difference in my life,” Rudy Hardy shared with Ivanhoe.

You feel Rudy Hardy’s enthusiasm, first.

Hardy stated, “So, I’m a professional sports photographer!”

And a professor of criminal justice, but Parkinson’s hijacked his body triggering depression.

“I kind of closed myself in my house. I didn’t go anywhere,” Hardy recalled.

He did venture on campus and colleagues were reassuring.

“Some of the folks around here, they said, ‘Rudy don’t worry about it’, and, and I know they were true to their hearts,” Hardy explained.

But even with meds, the shaking continued.

Rudy’s medications worked, for a while.

“I wasn’t gonna go through life like that”, Hardy stated.

“But it got progressively worse and within the last two years, I mean, I was flopping,” Hardy recalled.

Sameer Sheth, MD, a neurosurgeon at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical and associate professor of neurosurgery at Baylor College told Ivanhoe, “Many of the medicines, themselves, have their own side effects.”

“I mean, brain surgery. Just those two words, alone. Brain. Surgery," Hardy contemplated.

But, he did it. Surgical implants in his brain.

“You can think of it as a pacemaker, but not for the heart, but for the brain,”, Dr. Sheth illustrated.

“The neurologist typically does the programming. So, the system is a programmable system, it’s adjustable, modifiable, there’s a wireless kind of remote control,” Dr. Sheth clarified.

Hardy exclaimed, “Dr. Sheth went about it as if, it wasn’t much to it! It was routine!”

Hardy shared, “When I get excited, or upset, or mad with my wife or anything like that, you know, it starts in, you know, but now, my goodness! Look at this!”

Perfectly steady and ready for whatever life throws at him.

This operation is not for everyone, but for patients like Rudy, it’s been a game-changer. Ninety-two percent of patients who elect surgery are satisfied, although it, too, has side effects.

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