Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a neurosurgery where an electrode (or electrodes) is implanted within the deep portions of the brain with the hope of changing an abnormally functioning brain. DBS is used to treat Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, multiple sclerosis, and even some intractable depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is an exciting area of research and clinical work. Here is a video of a neurosurgeon and a neurologist talking about their work with DBS. It almost seems like magic. Like magic, it can be dangerous without proper controls. It does wonders for many people though.
I’m quite fascinated by human anatomy, especially neuroanatomy. The human body is amazing; it’s something of a miracle that it develops and works as well and as often as it does. The brain is very complex with up to 100 million neurons (that’s also an estimate of the number of stars in our galaxy) and 100 trillion synapses (connections between neurons)! 100 trillion is an estimate of how many individual cells the entire human body has. We have as many synapses as cells in the entire body. The brain is complex and beautiful. It has symmetry but individuality.
I discovered a website that allows you to watch some surgeries live (or to view archives of past surgeries). OR-Live.com is informational and free. For those interested in neurosurgeries – everything from scoliosis surgery to tumor resection to deep brain stimulation – here is the direct link. Most of the videos are available in Flash format for web-viewing. Many are also available to download as a video podcast. Warning – please don’t watch the videos if you get queasy easily; if you feel queasy while watching one, take a break and do something else for a while.
I hope my readers enjoy this site as much as I have in the past and will continue to in the future.
Mo at Neurophilosophy posted a great video of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery being performed on a man with essential tremor, while he plays the banjo. As with most brain surgeries, the patient was awake, alert, and talking. The doctors had him play the banjo so they could fine tune (pun intended) the electrode placement in order to have the best response.