Asleep Deep Brain Stimulation comes to Shreveport - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Asleep Deep Brain Stimulation comes to Shreveport

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A cutting edge treatment for Parkinson's disease has made its way to Shreveport.
Asleep Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is not a cure, but it can significantly reduce stiffness and tremors.
On Feb. 21, 2008, Rev. William McBride was called to lead his flock at St. Matthias' Episcopal Church on Cross Lake.
That same day, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
"It was a yo-yo of a day. That morning I was diagnosed with Parkinson's my bishop said he would support me if I wanted to continue. This parish just wrapped their arms around me and said, 'Yeah, we want you to be our rector even with Parkinson's'," said McBride.

As the disease set in, Father Bill as his parishioners call him, developed tremors and came to rely on a walking boot for his right foot. Then his speech began to weaken. 

"In the church services, of course I was mic'd. The person on the sound board just kept pushing my volume up, so I wasn't realizing that I was not speaking loud enough for people to hear," said McBride.

In March of this year, Father Bill became one of the first patients in the ArkLaTex to undergo asleep DBS by Dr. Jessica Wilden. 
Wilden just moved to the area from California after studying with the creators of the treatment.

"Like the heart has a pacemaker to make it's electrical activity normal, the brain also can have a pacemaker, which is the deep brain stimulator. This brain pacemaker can normalize the abnormal electrical activity that is happening in a movement disorder," said Wilden.

With DBS, a battery rests in the chest of the patient and wires travel up through the neck to thin leads in the brain that control electrical pulses. Until recent years, DBS procedures were only performed on patients who were awake.
"It used to be that we would place these leads into the brain with the patient awake, so we could test their symptoms. Because we're aiming for the deep brain, we're not sure exactly the right spot where they need to be in the awake or because we have no live imaging," said Wilden.

In order to put the device in while a patient is asleep, Wilden performs the surgery in a completely sterile MRI suite where she can see live images of the brain. This makes the procedure more accurate and comfortable for the patients.

"For Parkinson's disease, when they have to be awake, they get very stiff, rigid and a lot of them have bad anxiety and depression during the awake surgery," said Wilden.

Father Bill was grateful to have bypassed this during his nine-hour surgery. He's now back in church, walking without his boot and speaking clearly. For him, DBS has been a gift.

"Physically I was looking at having to take disability and retirement, because I knew I was getting to the point where it was becoming increasingly difficult just to get around. Like you say, it's a new life," said McBride.

Rev. Bill McBride said he went from 22 pills a day to three after undergoing DBS.
He won't have to get surgery again, but will continue to check in with Dr. Jessica Wilden to get the stimulator programmed.

To contact Dr. Wilden and learn more about asleep DBS, dial (318) 518-4602 or visit this link.

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