Parkison’s is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, mainly affecting the motor system due to the death of dopamine-generating cells in the brain. The disease’s most obvious symptoms are movement-related and include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty in walking. Later symptoms may include thinking and behavioral problems, and even dementia.
Guy Yohanan’s world turned upside down about 10 years ago, when he was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 33. As time passed, Guy found himself increasingly paralyzed, something which happens to about one third of Parkinson’s sufferers.
The life of the father of three seemed irrecoverably changed, until his physician, Dr. Ilana Schlesinger of Rambam Health Center in Haifa, suggested that he try a treatment called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), from the medical company Medtronic.
DBS therapy works by inserting a medical device much like a pacemaker under the skin of the chest. From the device extend thin, flexible wires called “leads”, which are implanted in the brain. The device works entirely under the skin and inside the body.
The wires carry electrical pulses that stimulate specific areas of the brain, enabling better performance of the brain’s circuits that control movements and reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s for many patients.
For Guy, the effects were tremendous. From facing a state of paralysis, he now plays tennis, cycles and even runs races.”I felt so energized and so alive again,” says Guy of his return home after the operation to insert the device. “That was a wonderful feeling.”