Local Parkinson’s patient able to walk and button his own shirt after a decade of tremors
RED BANK – Riverview Medical Center, part of Meridian Neuroscience, today announced it is one of the first hospitals in the state to offer patients deep brain stimulation (DBS), a breakthrough procedure for treating essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease.
Functioning like a “pacemaker” for the brain, DBS uses electrodes implanted in the brain to send out electrical impulses to areas in the brain linked to disorders. When treating Parkinson’s disease, for example, the inserted DBS device, Activa® PC, manufactured by Medtronic, sends electrical impulses through a wire into the brain to control the movement center. The stimulation blocks abnormal activity in the brain and relieves patients of tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, stiffness, and may help with other problems associated with their conditions.
And no one knows the life altering benefits of DBS more than Anthony Farinella of Monroe, NJ. At 62 years old, Anthony has battled Parkinson’s for more than 10 years. For most of his adult life, Anthony had trouble accomplishing the simplest tasks like walking, getting dressed, and cutting his own food. A former HR director at New School University in NYC, as well as former teacher at The Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing in Manhattan, he was forced to retire due to this condition.
For the last 10 years, Anthony has been treated for his Parkinson’s disease by Noah Gilson, M.D., a neurologist affiliated with Riverview Medical Center and Meridian Neuroscience. Dr. Gilson treated Anthony with traditional medicine but informed him that the ability of the medicine to stabilize or improve Anthony’s condition had run its course. Dr. Gilson was familiar with DBS, as well as a renowned neurosurgeon who was the first in the tri-state area to perform DBS using frameless technology more than five years ago.
Anthony was referred to Peter Zahos, M.D., neurosurgeon affiliated with Riverview Medical Center and Meridian Neuroscience. After a rigorous neurological evaluation, Anthony proved to be an ideal candidate for DBS and in October 2011 underwent surgery.
Within days Anthony was able to walk on his own, button his own shirt, cut his own food, and do many of the things he needed assistance with for the last decade. Now two months later, having gone for various follow-ups, Anthony’s skills, speech, and quality of life have improved dramatically.
“After a decade of seeing Anthony on a regular basis, I simply cannot believe his transformation in just a few short weeks,” says Dr. Gilson. “DBS gives new hope to patients suffering from this debilitating disease, and I’m excited that Dr. Zahos has joined the Riverview and Meridian family.”
Anthony Farinella is the first patient to have DBS done in Monmouth or Ocean counties. In addition, Dr. Zahos is one of only four physicians performing DBS in NJ and one of only three physicians in the entire tri-state area performing DBS using frameless technology.
“Deep brain stimulation represents a significant advancement for patients with neurological impairments,” said Dr. Zahos. “We are always looking for ways to improve the health and well-being of our patients, and the frameless technology adds to patient comfort during the procedure.
The traditional approach to DBS involves attaching a large, metal halo device to the patient’s skull and securing it to the surgical table. The frame’s effectiveness has been proved during several decades of use; however the frame creates complete immobilization of the patient’s head and neck and obscures the patient’s line of vision. Dr. Zahos is utilizing frameless technology for DBS, which places deep brain stimulating electrodes without the use of the traditional confining and anchored stereotactic frame.
“I finally have my life back thanks to Dr. Gilson, Dr. Zahos, and the folks at Riverview Medical Center,” says Farinella. “The fact that only three days after my surgery I was able to walk on my own after 15 years of relying on others is the most amazing way to start the New Year – I owe my new life to Dr. Zahos.”
Be sure to visit http://www.meridianhealth.com/MH/KeyClinicalServices/MeridianNeuroscience/index.cfm to learn more about Meridian Neuroscience and view a video of Anthony sharing his story. For information about this surgical capability please call Meridian Neurosurgical Associates at (732) 974-0003.