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† E. Bridging a Future for Patients with Parkinsonís Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. Many years ago, if a person was diagnosed with Parkinsonís disease, the prognosis wasnít very promising. Basically, patients with this degenerative brain disorder had two years of good function and then faced a life of disability. Since then, medication has helped patients with Parkinsonís have many years of good function.

Starr: When levodopa therapy was introduced in 1968 that made the first five to ten years of life with Parkinsonís bearable with good function.

Narrator: Dr. Phillip Starr of the University of California, San Francisco says after five to ten years, complications develop from medications. For these patients, thereís deep-brain stimulation surgery, or DBS.

Starr: Weíve now extended the period of good function and good quality of life another five to fifteen years beyond what medical therapy can do. So we often look at deep brain stimulation, even though itís not curative, as a bridge to a future time where truly curative therapies will be available.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.