Q&A panel examines patient journey with Deep Brain Stimulation

Doctors will gain a rare insight into the complete patient journey involving Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) at a conference on the Gold Coast tomorrow (Saturday June 21).

A Q&A panel chaired by neurologist Professor Peter Silburn will discuss all aspects of DBS treatment for a Parkinson’s patient, from referral, assessment, counselling, surgery, post-operative care, and support for the patient’s family at the Mind Matters Conference to be held at the Palazzo Versace.
“The panel discussion will involve the patient, the referring neurologist, and the team based at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital who provide complete care for DBS patients,” said Professor Silburn.
The conference caters for specialists, and there is an additional afternoon session examining other neurological cases for GPs, as part of St Andrew’s GP CPD program. Professor Silburn, and his St Andrew’s colleague Associate Professor Terry Coyne will also present their latest findings on DBS treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders.

DBS involves surgically implanting electrodes in a deep part of the brain. This brain “pacemaker” sends electrical impulses to a targeted area on each side of the brain to block the signals that cause the disabling motor symptoms in conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and essential tremor.
Professor Silburn said it was widely thought that a typical Parkinson’s patient would need to wait about 10 years, or until their motor complications could no longer be treated successfully with medication, before DBS could be considered.
“We have found DBS surgery is best performed four to seven years after diagnosis and this has been backed up by published research,” Professor Silburn said.
Professor Silburn and Associate Professor Coyne have together performed more than 700 DBS surgeries at St Andrew’s, and they are considered among the top DBS specialist teams in the world.

Exciting new DBS procedures for neuropsychiatric conditions will be highlighted, such as depression, OCD, addiction and anorexia nervosa.

Professor Silburn, who is also lead clinician at the Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation (APCN), a joint initiative of The University of Queensland (UQ) and St Andrew’s, is also collaborating in research with UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI).

A QBI team headed by Professor Pankaj Sah have been monitoring and recording brain
function in patients who underwent DBS surgery.

In a recent study, the researchers monitored the brain function of 10 patients with
Parkinson’s disease who were awake during DBS surgery, and found more than one part of the brain is responsible for planning movement.*

Professor Sah will also be presenting his findings at the medical conference.
Professor Silburn and Associate Professor Coyne have co-authored or collaborated on
numerous papers in leading medical journals. The 2013 study published in The New
England Journal of Medicine, which examined DBS for patients who had Parkinson’s for 5-7 years** will also be discussed.