Advanced Imaging Redefining Neurologic Research

New imaging technologies are leading to new insight into the way the brain as a whole is affected by everything from dyslexia to stroke to mental illness, according to a report from the American Neurological Association’s annual meeting this week in San Francisco.

That should be good news to people with Parkinson’s, and the researchers who love them. Dopamine replacement therapy has helped many of us, but it’s never been enough by itself to calm tremors or ease stiffness and rigidity, or help restore cognition. It’s long been apparent that multiple systems are affected by the loss of dopamine, and that there may very well be other neurotransmitters that are out of whack — substances that modern science hasn’t yet identified.

The brain may be yielding its secrets at an accelerating rate, but we still know only a tiny fraction of what’s really in there.

DBS Journal: It’s Time for Round 2

I’m trying to figure out the best way to get relief on my left side, the side that we did not stimulate. All roads keep leading back to doing a second surgery.

My right side is doing pretty well overall, with increasingly frequent breakthrough tremors happening during off periods. But the left side now feels like my right side did before DBS.

Mornings used to be my best time of day, probably because of the amantadine (it has a stimulating effect, so I take it morning and noon so it won’t interfere with sleep). The left side tremor reappears more quickly during the wear-off period, and it’s far more intense. The stiffness and rigidity has made a dramatic reappearance.

It seems as if the Parkinson’s is fighting back against the stimulator, that it is adapting to the device as if it were one of those antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I never expected a cure or a slowdown, but this relentless progression is a little worrisome. Maybe it’s stress.

I’ll have a stimulator adjustment in about a month, which ought to bring some relief to te right side. We will probably run through the medication options, too. But I’ve been through the mill with meds, though, and I don’t like the way they affect my thinking (I’m already borderline with OCD issues at current dose of mirapex) or my body (the dyskinesias that accompany levodopa/carbidopa).

My second session of device tuning opened with Dr. Boyd asking when I would get the left side done. My last office consult with Dr. Coffey opened with him asking what it would take for me to get the left side done. With the right side, I just knew when it was time. Now I know it’s time for the left.