A woman who is a Tourette’s syndrome patient has had a fair number of attacks in the past, being rendered disabled by relentless muscle jerks, but hope springs eternal in the human heart. In fact, a ‘brain pacemaker’ of sorts has been implanted in her, enabling her to obtain a semblance of normal life in the process. Jayne Bargent’s head and neck were affected by the uncontrollable convulsions of Tourette’s syndrome over the years that it did not allow her to drive, read, or even walk properly. After the implant of this ‘brain pacemaker’, Jayne says, “It is absolutely amazing. I do not feel I am the same person. I have had three years of getting worse. Now I have got my life back.”
Just what does the ‘brain pacemaker’ comprise of? Well, electrodes were implanted in her brain, being capable of firing tiny electric pulses into the region which is believed to cause the muscle tics. Taking 6 weeks to settle down after the implant operation and to ensure that the body does not reject it, the electrodes were turned on, and in just a matter of 40 minutes, the tics more or less disappeared, bringing hope to a whole host of other Tourette’s syndrome patients. Expect this technique known as Deep Brain Stimulation to see further ‘action’ down the road, where it is now also being used to treat other neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease.
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