Kevin Dickerson works with his hands as an electrician. But over the last 10 to 15 years he developed a neurological condition called essential tremor which caused his hands to shake uncontrollably…making it hard to do his job. From eating and drinking to coaching his daughter’s softball team, Kevin’s tremors impacted all aspects of his life. His doctor gave him medication but that didn’t help. He then heard about a procedure pioneered more than twenty years ago at The University of Kansas Health System called deep brain stimulation.
Kevin had the procedure, which involves placing electrodes on the left side of his brain to control the right side of his body, which is where his tremors were the worst. The best part is, using the newest generation of the Bluetooth enabled iPod device, Kevin can stop his tremors simply by adjusting the program in the palm of his hand.
In the video, we hear from Dr. Vibhash Sharma, the neurologist who treated Kevin. He talks about what deep brain stimulation is, how it works and who it’s for. He describes how this newest generation of the device has more leads for more precise placement and is much easier for programming to fit the individual patient’s needs. He also talks about the benefit of the patient being able to control the device wirelessly in his own hands.
Next we hear from Kevin Dickerson, the patient. He describes what life was like before the procedure, and demonstrates the shaking by holding a cup, and then shows his steady hand after the device is turned on. He also explains the tremors seem to run in his family, and even his teenage son is beginning to show the signs of tremors. And he expresses his joy at being able to work and do the activities in his life that he had to cut back on years ago.
Kevin’s wife, Debbie Dickerson, says she’s watched her husband struggle with the problem for almost 20 years and how her son is now struggling with the condition. She says it was amazing to see him put his hand out without shaking. She’s grateful he’ll now be able to do normal daily activities like eating and drinking…things the rest of us take for granted.
The video also shows Kevin in the operating room, where he is awake and participating in the procedure, plus video from the day, a month after the procedure, where he had his device programmed for the first time.