10 March 2010
New Delhi, India
FOR EIGHT long years, Ravish Rastogi d been an unwilling recluse in his home. i In the stranglehold of Parkinson's dis se, this former employee of the Steel Auority of India Limited was afraid he i ould be attacked by the increasingly fre ent symptoms of muscle rigidity and t emors. He had also let go of his passion r writing poetry.
The treatment ‘deep brain stimulation’ is a surgical procedure in which a batteryoperated medical device called the brain pacemaker is implanted to send electrical impulses to target areas of the brain that control movement. This stimulation blocks the abnormal nerve signals that cause Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms of the disease are then slowly disarmed.
Vaishya said: “Rastogi has Parkinson’s for 12 years. The drugs were of no use to him. He could not go about his daily activities and needed constant supervision.”
Though the option has been available for some years now, doctors do not recommend surgery to treat this chronic and progressive disease, sources in the medical profession said. Statistics show that only 700 such surgeries have been performed in the whole of south Asia in the last 12 years. But Dr Vaishya believes that the option of surgery should be exercised a little early.
Unlike previous procedures to treat Parkinson’s, this particular surgery does not damage healthy brain tissue by destroying nerve cells, doctors said.
Consultant neurologist at Max, Dr Puneet Agarwal said many do not prefer the procedure because of the high costs in
volved. Agarwal said: “It costs around Rs 6 lakh in a private set-up.” Dr Vaishya, who has operated on patients from Afghanistan, Iraq and Oman, feels the procedure gives them back quality life. He said: “Younger patients tend to show better results but 80 to 85 per cent respond well to the procedure.” Rastogi’s wife Roopa said the surgery had turned their life around. “He is back to writing, sports and everything he did before he was diagnosed,” she said.
Thirty-seven-year-old Bashir Ahmed from Iraq underwent the surgery on March 8. He had an early onset of the disease and is recovering well, Dr Vaishya said.