Jack McDonald owned a successful graphic design business. But a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and the involuntary body movements that go with that disease forced him to sell the business and retire. He took medicine to help control those movements, but it became less and less effective the longer he took it.
Two years ago, he underwent a procedure pioneered at The University of Kansas Hospital called Deep Brain Stimulation. In the procedure, electronic neurostimulators, connected to electrodes implanted in the brain, block or alter brain signals that cause disabling symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. Patients may regain their ability to dress, eat and walk without assistance. Some patients may be able to continue working and also may be able to reduce their medications. It allows patients like Jack to resume activities they had to give up.
Jack was able to use his graphic skills to write and illustrate a children’s book on the deep brain stimulation procedure called “Poppo’s Electric Brain.” In it he was able to answer his grandchildren’s questions, such as “Will they have to take off the top of your head?” and “Will you look like Frankenstein?”
Video includes sound with McDonald talking about his experience, looking at his illustrated book on his computer and reading his book to his grandson.