The deep brain stimulation team at UCLA celebrated their 500th patient implanted with a brain pacemaker to cease Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. During the procedure, the patient was awake and played the guitar live while the team implanted a brain pacemaker.
An estimated 10 million Americans have essential tremor and more than one million suffer from Parkinson's disease. For many of our patients at UCLA, deep brain stimulation is "miraculous" in stopping the tremors and thus enabling them to return to normal daily life.
May 23, 2013
A team of UCLA Health brain specialists implanted a brain pacemaker in a 39-year-old man. It was the 500th such procedure the team had completed, but the first time the group had invited followers to observe the procedure on Twitter. Updates with Instagram photos and short video clips were posted using the hashtag #UCLAORLive.
The procedure stimulates an area of the brain and implants a brain pacemaker to treat Parkinson's disease and essential tremors. During the operation, the patient was awakened and asked to play a guitar to assist the team in placing electrodes into position.
Brad Carter, the patient, is a Los Angeles-based actor, musician and stand-up comedian who developed hand tremors in 2006. He had lost the ability to perform, but after the brain stimulation portion of the surgery, his dexterity on the guitar was much improved. Carter gave his authorization for the surgery to be shared via Twitter and the social media outlet's Vine video application.
UCLA live-tweeted the surgery with the hope that it would help alleviate future patients' fear of the procedure. About 10 million Americans live with essential tremors and more than 1 million suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Many UCLA patients have found dbs-deep-brain-stimulation beneficial in stopping the tremors and helpful in enabling them to lead normal lives.
Before the procedure began, the patient explained what notes he would be playing on the guitar.