Treating Movement Disorders: Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor and Dystonia

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 6, 2017

For some people with movement disorders, deep brain stimulation can offer an effective treatment for symptoms that don’t respond to medications. Above: Imaging in the AMIGO Suite at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Contributor: Michael T. Hayes, MD, is Neurological Director of the Functional Neurosurgery Program for Movement Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Movement disorders are a group of neurological conditions that cause abnormal voluntary or involuntary movements, or slow, reduced movements. These disorders can affect movements such as walking, and complex tasks like playing the piano or writing.

“No two patients with a movement disorder are alike, so treatment must be tailored to the individual. In order to achieve the best outcome each patient must be continually evaluated to decide the appropriate treatments, which may involve injections, medications, or in some cases surgery,” said Dr. Michael T. Hayes, the Neurological Director for Functional Neurosurgery at BWH. Read More »

Sleeping through Deep Brain Stimulation?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 12, 2016

At BWH, DBS electrode placement is performed in the AMIGO Suite, which enables magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to be obtained directly in the operating room.

Imaging in the AMIGO Suite at Brigham and Women’s Hospital enables patients who are candidates for DBS to have this procedure performed under general anesthesia.

For some people with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor, deep brain stimulation (DBS) can offer an effective treatment for symptoms that are not responding to medications. The traditional procedure to place the DBS electrodes, however, has required patients to remain awake during surgery. Patients who are candidates for DBS may now have this procedure performed under general anesthesia.

“This is a huge advance for patients opting for DBS,” said Dr. G. Rees Cosgrove, Director of Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), the only hospital in New England and one of few nationwide to offer asleep DBS. “The imaging that we use while we perform the procedure enables us to confirm that we’ve reached the exact locations that we are trying to target in the brain while we are in the operating room, without the need to keep patients awake.”

At BWH, DBS electrode placement is performed in the Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO) Suite, which enables images, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to be obtained directly in the operating room. During surgery in AMIGO, MRI is used to guide placement of DBS electrodes and confirm the targets to reduce symptoms without adversely affecting language or other key areas.

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Stimulating the Brain to Stop Tremors

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 31, 2012

You are sitting at a restaurant having dinner. Feeling thirsty, you reach for your water glass on the table. You grab and lift the glass, but your hand is shaking uncontrollably. Minutes pass, but even with much effort you are unable to steady your hand enough to bring the glass to your mouth to drink.

Essential tremor – a neurological movement disorder that causes involuntary shaking of the hands, head, and voice – affects millions of Americans and is common in people over the age of 65. It can greatly impact activities of daily living, like eating, dressing, writing, or typing.


“Medications can be used to help treat essential tremor and other movement disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, but they are not always effective or may lose effectiveness over time,” says Dr. Michael Hayes, Neurological Director for Functional Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).“They also can carry significant side effects.”

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