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Published on June 26th, 2013 | by Martha Kent

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Technology used to cancel the effects of Parkinson’s Disease

The story is about Andrew Johnson, also known as Cyber AJ, a 39 years old man who suffers from an early stage of Parkinson’s Disease. Thanks to a brain surgery performed by his doctors in New Zealand, he can now use his motor and vocal functions a lot better than before. In fact, when his “magical device” is on, it’s difficult to notice any kind of motor problems.

Parkinsons_Disease_Deep_Brain_Stimulation

How is this possible?
Andrew underwent a procedure called “deep brain stimulation”, in which surgeons add implants in the brain that control the way errant neurons fire signals, adding or taking just enough electricity needed for the correct signal to be send to the body. Aside from the brain implants, a neuro-stimulator was implanted in Andrew’s chest to control the brain implants. The post-surgery period was very difficult for him, and large amounts of pain were present. But, after the recovery, the chest monitor and the medication were adjusted to compensate the brain dysfunction, and now Andrew can use his arms and his voice almost like a normal man. In the following video, he exhibits the way neuro-stimulator works. As you can see, the effects can be felt immediately after it is turned on.

Don’t get the story twisted, this article is not about “technology has cured Parkinson’s Disease”, but rather about how technology can alleviate the unpleasant effects of this disease. As you may know, in such Parkinson’s cases, the disease is progressive, and further tweaks and medication change will be needed.

Tags: medical robots, science, surgical operation


About the Author

I am the senior editor for SciNotions web magazine. In the past, I have also worked in various projects involving science, music, technology and gadgets.



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