Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a treatment, not a cure, for Parkinson’s. It is a therapy that treats a number of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. DBS uses mild electrical pulses to stimulate a precisely targeted area of the brain. It is thought this therapy works by ‘stunning’ the target area which blocks the abnormal nerve signals being transmitted by areas in the brain that are not functioning properly. As a result of the symptoms being better controlled by the DBS, the person usually has a reduction in the medication they need to take. The average reduction in medication of people who have had DBS is 30% to 40%.
In New Zealand DBS is only carried out on a small number (less than 20) of highly selected patients each year. This is because there are only certain patients in whom it will work satisfactorily. The majority of these people have Parkinson’s although DBS is also used to treat some other conditions.