Brain Surgery for USN&WR

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San Francisco, California, January 5, 2011 - A portrait of Linda Sharp in her hotel suite the night before her Interventional MRI (or iMRI) surgery at University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Ms. Sharp was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about ten years ago and has steadily seen her condition decline. She says that she read everything she could on the subject and decided to try the iMRI at the suggestion of her neurologist, Dr. Chad Christine, a doctor at UCSF. Her PD has progressed to a point where the movement disturbances could no longer be alleviated with medication. She says she is hopeful about the surgery. "I just want my quality of life back." She added that she misses going out to dinner with her husband, taking walks along the beach where she lives and being able to read before going to bed. The procedure does not cure the disease, but should alleviate the symptoms for 7-10 years giving Ms. Sharp the opportunity to regain some of these simple pleasures. ..The iMRI procedure uses Deep brain stimulation (DBS), which has been used for over a decade to treat movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. DBS uses a pulse generator implanted in the chest, similar to a pacemaker, to deliver pulses to specific regions of the brain via a permanently implanted electrode. In the U.S., DBS is normally done while the patient is awake, because the surgeon needs to induce the symptoms (like the involuntary movements of Parkinson's) to know if he's in the right place, and if the patient is unconscious, the symptoms can't be induced. Many patients find it hard to tolerate. Their head is clamped in a frame, they're aware of their surroundings, and the surgeon is deliberately producing tremors and twitches while they lie there...Interventional MRI (or iMRI) allows surgeons to implant these electrodes while the patient is unconscious taking advantage of MR imaging in real time.