From Epilepsy to Movement Disorders, Here's What Deep Brain Stimulation Can Treat

May 20, 2024
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Perhaps you’re dealing with epilepsy that isn't responding to medications or a movement disorder that’s getting worse. It may be time to explore whether deep brain stimulation can help.

Epilepsy, dystonia, essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) — what each of these conditions has in common is that they start in the brain. 

And the results of many of these conditions can include outward tremors, seizures, tics, and uncontrollable muscle contractions.

If you or a loved one is dealing with a neurological disorder and you feel like you’ve exhausted your options with nothing to really show for your efforts, it might be time to explore new avenues, such as deep brain stimulation.

As an experienced and skilled neurologist, Dr. Paul Gill is aware of the challenges in treating epilepsy and movement disorders, which is why we offer deep brain stimulation (DBS) as part of our extensive suite of services here at Gill Neuroscience.

Here’s a look at how DBS works and where we can apply this innovative treatment option.

Controlling abnormal brain activity

The goal behind deep brain stimulation is to control abnormal activity in your brain by stimulating neurons, as well as correcting chemical imbalances.

To do this, we insert electrodes into certain areas of your brain. Then we program a small generator to deliver mild electrical impulses that can stimulate dormant or inactive neurons to normalize brain activity and create more robust neurotransmitter activity.

We insert the thin, insulated leads into the areas of your brain that are involved in your neurological issue, and then we run wires just beneath your skin from your head down to the top of your chest, where we implant a small, pre-programmed generator.

Where deep brain stimulation can help

Worldwide, about 160,000 people have already turned to DBS, and this number is growing. About 12,000 DBS implantation procedures are performed each year.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has approved DBS to treat:

Where DBS has really proven invaluable is when medications, such as those for epilepsy or for Parkinson’s disease, are ineffective.

Based on its success in helping with the above conditions, there’s ongoing research to apply DBS to:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Substance use disorders
  • Headaches
  • Severe anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Treatment-resistant depression

From neurological issues to mental health problems, DBS holds great promise in addressing some tough-to-treat conditions.

The benefits of DBS

Many patients opt for DBS to reduce medications that come with considerable side effects, such as the brain fog with epilepsy medications or the mood changes that accompany some Parkinson’s disease drugs.

DBS also works behind the scenes and continuously, providing you with 24-hour coverage. 

This neurostimulation technique is considered fairly safe, and it’s easily reversed if needed. We simply remove the leads and the generator. 

If you’d like to explore whether DBS might be a good option for your neurological issue, we invite you to call our office in Houston, Texas, at 832-912-7777, or use our online request form to schedule an appointment.