NMC applauds FDA Endorsement of Parkinson’s Treatment
(Baton Rouge, LA) The NeuroMedical Center, home of Baton Rouge’s first and only Deep Brain Stimulation Program, strongly supports the FDA’s recent approval of a popular and proven therapy for even more individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. On Wednesday, February 17, 2016, indications for Medtronic’s Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy expanded to include patients who have had Parkinson’s for at least 4 years, and have recently experienced motor symptoms (i.e. tremor and bradykinesia). Since 2002, the DBS therapy was only FDA-approved to treat advanced Parkinson’s– when symptoms exhibited a significant impact on quality of life.
While the FDA’s recent approval of Medtronic’s DBS device will undoubtedly broaden the Parkinson’s population eligible to receive treatment at hospitals across the country, physicians at The NeuroMedical Center have supported the new recommendations since 2014, offering the technology to patients before symptoms and complications turned severe. “Recent studies clearly support the use of DBS earlier in the course of Parkinson’s, rather than later. Patients who get DBS relatively early take less medicine, seem to progress slower, have better quality of life scores, and can work longer, compared to those without DBS. I have witnessed this firsthand in my patients for many years now,” says board-certified neurologist and movement disorder specialist, Dr. Gerald J. Calegan. “It is truly remarkable to be able to literally ‘flip a switch’ and see the tremors, stiffness, and slowness from years of Parkinson’s instantly melt away. Many patients are brought to tears when the device is turned on.”
Medtronic’s DBS therapy uses a surgically implanted medical device, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, to deliver electrical stimulation to precisely targeted areas of the brain to reduce some of the disabling motor symptoms and improve quality of life, activities of daily living and reduce medication usage for individuals living with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Calegan and board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Paul J. Waguespack were the first physicians in the Baton Rouge area to offer this innovative procedure, launching The NeuroMedical Center’s Deep Brain Stimulation Program in 2007. Both Drs. Calegan and Waguespack also have degrees in engineering, so they feel very comfortable combining innovative technology with medicine. To date, over 250 patients have benefited from DBS therapy performed at The NeuroMedical Center. Now, due to the success of the DBS program, The NeuroMedical Center has expanded to 3 board-certified neurologists as well as a neurosurgeon who specialize in movement disorders and DBS.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, incurable neurological disorder that affects about 1.5 million Americans. In Louisiana, it is estimated that Parkinson’s affects more than 65,000 individuals — one of the higher incidence rates in the nation.