Sunday, December 1, 2019

Deep Brain Stimulation impacts ability to swim

The electronic implants reduced Parkinson's symptoms, but also erased some patients' ability to swim.

(C) NY Times

Credit...Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

  • A lifelong swimmer leapt into deep water near his lakeside home, and was horrified to find himself completely unable to swim. Had his wife not rescued him, he might have drowned.

    He had recently received an electronic brain implant to control tremors and other symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and somehow the signals from the device had knocked out his ability to coordinate his arms and legs for swimming.
  • He was one of nine patients, all good swimmers despite having Parkinson's, who had the same strange, dangerous side effect from deep brain stimulators.
  • Three of them tried turning off the stimulators, and immediately could swim again, according to an article in the journal Neurology by a medical team from the University of Zurich.

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