Local Discovery Could Lead To Parkinson’s Breakthrough

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Parkinson’s disease is a condition where there’s shaking, stiffness, and slowness. It’s related to the breakdown of brain cells that make the chemical signal dopamine, but local doctors have discovered another possibility.

Dr. Peter Janetta is a neurosurgeon known for something called microvascular decompression, which involves repositioning and cushioning blood vessels that push on brain structures and cause problems.

He used this technique to help a patient with a condition called trigeminal neuralgia, where a blood vessel presses on a nerve and causes facial tics and pain.

The patient also had Parkinson’s disease.

“I looked at the scan and there was a posterior cerebral artery pressing on the midbrain and I thought that could very easily be the cause of this,” Dr. Janetta explained. “I picked it up and I slid something under it.”

After this surgery to put move the artery away from the midbrain — the part affected by Parkinson’s — the symptoms were surprisingly gone.

“This appears to be the first time Parkinson’s has really been cured,” Dr. Janetta added.

Based on this case, a study compared the MRI scans of 20 patients with the condition and 20 without. The radiologist did not know who was who. In three out of four cases of Parkinson’s, the radiologist noted a blood vessel pressing on the area of the brain where Parkinson’s comes from.

Multi-center trials will be starting in the next six months to see if the surgery truly makes a difference in people with the disease.

“We have so much to learn, though, so it’s so exciting,” Dr. Janetta added. “I think that with high standards, the right people operating, and the right institutions, for the right indications on the right patients, this is going to change our lives.”

A small study like this won’t change the standard of care for Parkinson’s, which include medicines to reduce tremor and stiffness.

More Health News
AGH Neurosurgeon May Have Breakthrough On Parkinson’s (Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 9/8/11)
MRI Study Shows Brain Blood Vessel Abnormality May Be Factor in Parkinson’s Disease” (PRWeb.com)
Parkinson’s Disease (MedlinePlus.gov)
Interactive Tutorial From the Patient Education Institute

More from Dr. Maria Simbra
  • Pat Ravey

    I am familiar with Dr. Janetta re: my husband’s 1988 acoustic neuroma as well as Dr. Janetta’s involvement with the local & nat’l ANA support group(s). My husband has had Parkinson’s since 2001. We relocated from Pgh to Charlotte in Feb. 2011. I was wondering if Dr. Janetta might have a neurosurgeon in this area that my husband could see re: this article. We live near Huntersville, Cornelius, or Concord as opposed to closer to the city proper. Thank you for any assistance you may be in this matter.

  • Nadine Schorr

    Nadine (age 54) I was approx. 17 years of age when Dr. Janetta operated on my father for a condition nicknamed “tic” also being referred to at that time as a “suicidal” nerve. The pain was so devestating, that some committed suicide. My father said the pain was as though the Dentist hit a nerve and it was an ongoing feeling of that. He would bang his head against the wall; never could sit and eat with us at the table; he would try, but as soon as the fork or spoon touched his lips, the nerve set off. He ate baby food for years and cried and couldn’t hold a job. T his went on for 9 years. Dr. Janetta found the current cure. He is a medical angel in this world today. Cherish him forever. That is the best advice I can give. Listen to him and always trust in his work. I remember the day before my father was schedled for surgery; he came into the room and said I have good news and bad news. The good news is I am still doing the surgery; the bad news is I am asking you to wait a couple of days so other doctors can travel and be at your surgery to learn and take it back to teach others. My father was a humble man and said if it will help others, of course he would wait. God bless you Dr. Janetta and God Bless all those who can be helped with the Parkinsons Disase. It is so very refreshing to share the joy of something such as this. My heart goes out to all. I will never forget Dr. Janetta and as you can see from this comment I have remembered him all these years.

  • Elizabeth Elliott

    My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008. He does not live in the Pittsburgh area, but I do! This gives me great hope, for him and for all Parkinson’s patients!

  • Alice Frolo

    My husband was reently diagnosed with a Parkinson Plus Syndrome with Lewy Body Dementia. I would love to know if he could possibly be a candidate for the trials that Dr. Janetta will be starting within the next six months. We live in the Pittsburgh area, and it would truly be a blessing if he could be considered.

  • ml harvey

    My son was recently diagnosed with Parkinson. He has tried several medicins but they do adverse reactions. I am hoping you would consider him for one of your trials, He is trying to maintain his work but it is difficult with the left arm and hand. God bless you for all the help you have given your patients. I hope you can find it in your heart to help my son also. I will pray that you will always have the skills and knowledge to continue this great work. Thank you

  • Dennis Campbell

    My Father had been diagnosed with Parkinson in 09 however after a couple years of meds and no signs of help we went for a second opinion and was immeadiatly told about Parkinsons Plus or Lewy Body Dementia. How could we explore your findings and see if my father could become a canadiate to help furthur your research. We are located in the Tampa bay area.

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