SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sanford Health is using new technology to help patients living with tremors have a better quality of life.
At the age of 45 Ron Nelson started noticing tremors in his hands.
“It got so bad that I couldn’t write. And I was a teacher, so correcting papers. I had a lot of trouble,” Nelson said.
But today, his tremors have nearly disappeared. That’s all thanks to new technology being offered at Sanford Health, called Brainsense.
“The idea is that it can read brainwaves when put well in a certain area when placed with the deep electrodes or deep brain stimulation. And the idea is that it will give more information for the patients to help us reduce tremor or Parkinson’s symptoms,” Dr. Shawn Vuong said.
Dr. Shawn Vuong, a Sanford Health neurosurgeon says the deep brain stimulation surgery can completely remove tremors.
The small pacemaker-like device can be controlled by not only doctors, but patients too.
“Now I have it so that if, if I want to set it up, I can do it myself. I can do the therapy myself. I can move it up and make it stronger,” Nelson said.
Since Nelson’s surgery in February he says his quality of life has changed significantly.
“If you pick out the right patients it can work really, really well. And Ron has really done a wonderful, had a wonderful effect from his treatment,” Vuong said.
“I can eat. I can write without holding my other hand, I can brush my teeth, which I had a heck of a time with,” Nelson said.
While there are side effects including numbness, tingling and depression– Vuong says all patients are thoroughly evaluated.
And if successful, the procedure can change a patient’s life.
“When he handed me a pen to write my name before they turned it on, I could not even get the pen on the paper with one hand. And the minute they turned it on and then all of a sudden I could, I could write. So it’s pretty, pretty amazing,” Nelson said.
If you’re interested in Brainsense, call your provider.