This video will look into the new promise for Parkinson's sufferers.
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Jennifer Mathews: Dr. Jerrold Vitek has been researching Parkinson's disease for 15 years, but it's his most recent work that he's most proud of. Dr. Jerrold Vitek: The whole goal of all this is to really find out what's the best way to do these procedures for patients to give them the best outcome over the long term. Jennifer Mathews: The procedure he is talking about is a pallidotomy, a surgery that used to be common for Parkinson's patients. Dr. Jerrold Vitek: Pallidotomy is where you make a destructive lesion in the part of the brain called the basal ganglia. You're basically removing a piece of the brain that is now becoming a problem and creating disruptions downstream. Jennifer Mathews: Taking that piece out curbs many of the outward signs of Parkinson's. Dr. Jerrold Vitek: The tremor, rigidity, the slowness, the extra movements from medication, the dyskinesias. Jennifer Mathews: Typically, results are seen on the side of the body opposite the side of the brain where doctors make the lesion. Dr, Vitek noticed something different. Dr. Jerrold Vitek: The thing we saw that has not been reported before was the benefit on both sides of the body which persisted out two years in many patients. Jennifer Mathews: He says what's different could be where and how big they're making the cut. Soon after Mary Selmen was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1985, her tremors and jerky movements took over. Mary Selmen: I just thought it was the end of my life. Jennifer Mathews: Mary had a pallidotomy and seven years later, the shaky hands and other signs of Parkinson's are greatly reduced. Mary Selmen: It just made a new person out of me. Jennifer Mathews: Though her tremors are all but vanished, Mary's not settling. Mary Selmen: Well, if they find a cure, then I'll be the first one in line. Jennifer Mathews: With daughter Laurie and grandson Zach likely standing right by her side. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.