Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenitive disorder in the world after Alzheimer’s disease.
There is no cure.
But one Kelowna man who has spent years watching his symptoms worsen is now seeing improvement, after undergoing an innovative treatment.
Gary Toop was accepted for a surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in May.
“I saw it as a window of opportunity to get my life back, where I could do things I love to do, like music,” Toop said.
Parkinson’s symptoms, such as trembling and lack of muscle control, is caused by faulty signals in the brain that tell the muscles to move.
The surgery literally rewires the brain.
“What’s done is a wire is inserted into a deep place in the brain and attatched to a devise that’s like a pacemaker,” Dr. Daryl Wile, a neurologist from Kelowna said. “It generates signals to change how the firing works in that part of the brain.”
The surgery is not for every patient with Parkinson’s, but it does offer hope for many candidates.
“It’s about a five year wait list,” Toop said. “That’s just torture for a lot of people that can get some relief.”
The Parkinson Superwalk is happening this weekend in communities across Canada.
Some of the funds raised will be used by the Parkinson Society of B.C. to advocate for the expansion of the DBS program in B.C.