Researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerlandpublished a report reporting nine reported cases in which patients with Parkinson's disease lost their ability to swim after treatment, namely after a deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedure. DBS can help patients control a number of neurological symptoms, such as muscle cramps and stiffness. This suggests that despite good motor skills, deep brain stimulation can lead to a person drowning. The report is published on the pages of the journal Neurology.
What is Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson’s disease is called chronicneurological disease characteristic of older people. The disease affects the neural cells of the brain and is manifested by motor disorders, tremor of the limbs and limitation of mobility. With the further development of the disease, mental abilities worsen and mental illnesses develop. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people suffering from various neurological diseases, including Parkinson's disease, is approximately 50 million people worldwide.
How is Parkinson's disease treated?
According to the researchers, before treatment, everythingthe subjects had no swimming problems even after being diagnosed. It seems that an invasive procedure, which involves placing electrodes around the brain and heart to intercept erroneous electrical signals, is what caused a loss of ability to stay afloat. Despite the amazing picture, the researchers are not sure why DBS leads to such a side effect. The report notes that after treatment, patients have an improvement in motor functions, but in water the ability to coordinate disappears.
Scientists' interest in the side effect of the proceduremost likely it was caused by the news that one of the patients jumped into the lake and nearly drowned. Researchers later learned that three out of nine patients were able to swim only after turning off the devices. Note that this is not the first time that scientists notice this strange connection. In 2015, researchers from Australia reported four similar case studies that lasted two decades. Three patients drowned after a sudden loss of swimming ability after DBS. Moreover, patients who have undergone the procedure also noted violations of other specific physical abilities, such as playing golf or skiing. Scientists have achieved tremendous success in the fight against previously incurable diseases.
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Today, this side effect leaves scientistsmore questions than answers. Further research is needed to understand what is going on in the patient’s body. Despite the fact that only a few cases are presented in the new document, the main reason why the doctors decided to write a report was to raise public awareness. Although the main reason may still be unknown, the decision to go for a swim after the DBS procedure may cost people with Parkinson's disease life.