When my husband Mo was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease our lives changed dramatically. There are 120,000 sufferers in Britain- among the over 65’s the rate is one person in 100. Parkinson’s does not always kill its victim’s but it kills their way of life.
We were fortunate enough to have secured the services of the world renowned neurosurgeon Professor Marwan Hariz, who relocated from Sweden in November 2002, to form a team at University College Hospital, Queen Square, London, to perform a then pioneering procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). This miraculous surgery has changed the lives of many sufferers, and research in this field has lead to DBS being approved for Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor, dystonia and deafferentation Pain (phantom pain). DBS is also being introduced for treatment of other brain disorders such as Tourettes syndrome, severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, severe Depression, and some cases of epilepsy.
DBS instantly eliminates symptoms that were previously hard to treat, such as persistent tremor, rigidity and violent spasms, it is also reversible – and at the touch of a switch.
This reversibility means that if a cure is ever found for the disease, the apparatus can be dismantled and removed to make way for that cure. DBS offers the best means yet of relieving the terrible symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, dystonia, and other brain disorders.
Since I set up up the Parkinson’s Appeal at The Institute of Neurology in University College London, that centre has become a world leader in DBS. It has one of the most sophisticated imaging systems in the world with which to scan the brain – an essential precursor of this kind of surgery.
We raised almost 4 million pounds, and established the first Chair of Functional Neurosurgery in Europe, The Edmond J Safra Chair. Subsequently renamed in 2012 The Simon Sainsbury Chair.
I do hope you feel you can help in our bid to support The National Hospital who still cannot meet the needs of developing and expanding the DBS services to meet the increasing demand. Professor Hariz and his team of nine experts still need financial support for their work. Your donation will ensure that the operation will become more widely available through the NHS, for as long as it is needed to alleviate the suffering of these sick patients. It will also support the ongoing training of surgeons, neurologists and other health care professionals to provide the best holistic care possible for the patients. Finally, your donation will help keeping the development of the research that is a prerequisite for providing better and more efficient help for patients with brain disorders.
For the many sufferers of these distressing conditions your support would be a dream come true. It is also my dream.
Let me finish with the words of one patient who received DBS treatment: “This operation has given me back my self-esteem, human dignity, and quite frankly, my life” Please help us continue this work.
Lyn Rothman Hon Fellow UCL
The Parkinson's Appeal Fund Chairman and Founder
The Parkinson's Appeal is a fund within UCLH Charity Registered Charity No: 229771