Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) involves implanting electrodes within the part of your brain that affects mood. Emory is at the forefront of innovation in performing DBS procedures, with our movement disorders team using it in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, dystonia, essential tremor and other related disorders. During deep brain stimulation, electrical impulses transmitted through the electrodes deep within the brain affect brain cells and chemicals to relieve depression. The amount of stimulation delivered by the electrodes is controlled by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in your upper chest. A wire that travels under your skin connects the device, called a pulse generator, to the electrodes in your brain.

Emory neurosurgeons Robert Gross, MD, PhD and Nicholas Boulis, MD provide expert surgical care to patients of the Emory Movement Disorders Center. Drs. Boulis and Gross are currently collaborating to develop gene therapy (delivery of growth and survival factors directly to brain cells) as an alternative to device-implantation for patients with chronic pain, spasticity and epilepsy. They are also exploring further application for deep brain stimulation, which shows promise for use with other conditions beyond Parkinson’s Disease, such as depression and epilepsy.

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