This medical video focus' on how deep brain stimulation helps with cerebral palsy symptoms in young patients.
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Jennifer Mathews: This is what life used to be like for Cassandra Province. An injury at birth left her with cerebral palsy. As a teen, she developed constant body tremors. Dr. Zeba Vanek: They feed couldn't her, it was difficult for her to sit or lie down, even swallowing food became difficult for her. Jennifer Mathews: Today, she still has cerebral palsy, but the tremors are greatly reduced, thanks to an electrical stimulator that UCLA doctors implanted in her brain. Dr. Zeba Vanek: This electrical probe is connected to a wire that is threaded behind the ear, and ultimately connects to the stimulator that is implanted below the collar bone. Jennifer Mathews: The stimulator suppresses abnormal brain activity using an electrical current. It was originally created for Parkinson's patients. Cassandra is one of a few patients in the world to receive it for CP. Pam Province: There's time she just sits and relax and doesn't even move. And then she has movements, but not like before. Jennifer Mathews: Cassandra cannot speak, but using a special eye-gaze computer, she told us, "Before I had the brain stimulation surgery, I was hurting from all the tremors, and I just wanted to sleep all the time. In my head, I do play the 'before' and 'after' tape of myself and think, 'Wow, was that me?'" She has to undergo adjustments to fine tune the stimulator current using a magnetic device. But said it's a small price to pay to get her life back. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.