April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, and now there is a new procedure being done right here in Atlanta to help those with the disease.
Instead of being awake for hours while doctors operate on your brain, patients can now be put under anesthesia.
In years past, patients would have to be awake for ten hours or more as doctors use old MRI images to navigate the brain.
Therefore it's no surprise that Gwyn Hazelwood, who has been battling Parkinson's for more than twenty years, did not want to go under the knife.
"You think of surgery on your head and that's extreme for most of us," said Hazelwood.
For the past two decades, Hazelwood's condition progressively worsened. Her legs and arms shook uncontrollably. Her daughter told us she couldn't event lift her grandchildren.
"She was practically crawling through the hallways. It was like watching a baby," said Erica Brown, Hazelwood's daughter.
Enter a new piece of technology called ClearPoint. It allows doctors to use 3D, real-time images of the brain throughout the procedure. That's not all. Patients get to be asleep the entire time.
Dr. Robert Gross, brain surgeon at Emory University Hospital, told CBS46 that the new technology allows him to place electrodes on the brain in the exact spot they are needed. Whereas in the old procedure, doctors had to use MRI images that were old to navigate where electrodes should be placed.
Nearly six months after surgery, now Hazelwood says her shaking has greatly subsided and the best part is that she is able to hold her grandchildren once again.
If you know someone with Parkinson's Disease spread the word about this innovative procedure. The National Institute of Health is trying to educate the public about this new alternative. It granted Emory University $6.6 million to be used, in part, for outreach efforts.
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