DBS how does it work?

I can sort of intuitively understand how epilepsy may be helped by DBS [using electical stimulaton to overwhelm an electrical storm]… Does anyone have any understanding how it is thought to work for PD? How does the tuning of the zapper to particular frequencies help?

Hi @peasantfarmer1,

I’m sure you’ll receive some helpful information from the community soon, however, I just wanted to chime in quickly. Deep brain stimulation involves implanting very fine wires, with electrodes at their tips, into the brain. This stimulation changes some of the electrical signals in the brain that cause the symptoms of Parkinson’s. We go into this in more detail on our website here - https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/information-and-support/deep-brain-stimulation.

We also have a PDF booklet which you can download here - https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/sites/default/files/2018-10/B123%20Surgery%20for%20Parkinson’s_WEB.pdf. Lastly, our helpline and Parkinson’s local advisers are here to answer any questions you have about deep brain stimulation surgery.

Feel free to give us a call on 0808 800 0303.

I hope this helps you with your query.

Best wishes,

It does require fine tuning. In the Bristol team they currently use electrodes with up to 8 zapping points to use your term. I view PD as a corrupted signal from the brain to nerve endings caused by the nerve river bed having run dry of dopamine. A simplistic analogy but I like it. It’ s also how DBS stimulates the nerves to mimic the Dopamine flow thus allowing the nerves to transport your intentional movements more fluidly. A lot of people ask if they are too old for DBS. Put plainly, if levadopa pills still work at least some of the time DBS can offer a more stable set of symptoms. It just may take a few goes at fine tuning the electrics.