Baptist Health Richmond: Treating Parkinson’s Disease
Neurologist Daniel O. Lee, MD, outlines treatment options for Parkinson’s disease, including medication, physical and occupational therapy, and new technologies such as deep brain stimulation and nerve implants.
Treating Parkinson’s Disease HealthTalks Transcript
Daniel O. Lee, MD
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative condition. The brain is no longer producing an adequate amount what we call dopamine. Dopamine is very essential for our movement, so those patients would suffer from difficulty with walking and difficulty getting up out of bed or out of a chair. The goal of management of Parkinson’s disease is to reverse the functional disability of those patients. We currently have a lot of medication available. This medication can help the patients symptomatically, and almost immediately you see the result.
Besides medication, we also have other treatment options. It’s very important that those patients get physical therapy and occupational therapy to make sure that they are walking safely. Environment is equally important. We want to make sure that we’re creating an environment that is safe in order to protect the patients. Since 200 years ago, when it was first diagnosed, there had not been a whole lot of treatment until now. Now there is a lot of ongoing research with regard to surgical intervention. What they are doing is stimulating the deep part of the brain and also using sural nerve implant into the brain to help the brain regenerate dopamine again. With the treatment that is available to us now, we are able to improve the quality of life of those patients.