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kaitlyn roland

thanks for sharing this information... low volume speech can be incredibly frustrating for some people and swallowing difficulties can be very dangerous! this is important information that all people considering DBS should be made aware of.

mary spremulli

Perhaps your final comment, Kate is the reason people will often put up with less than satisfactory speech. It is the seemingly miraculous improvement in gross motor symptoms post DBS. Hopefully, as DBS surgery and programming techniques are improved upon, these speech side effects will be less of an issue. In the meantime, patients should undergo pre/post speech/swallowing assessment with a licensed speech-language pathologist prior to undergoing DBS or any other surgery, for that matter when there is some risk of further decline in these important functions.

John Dean

I agree that in many situations, the relief from the motor symptoms often seems to trump the potential speech (and swallowing and cognitive) side effects. I think that is often a outlet for both individuals with Parkinson's undergoing the procedure as well as many of their physicians. Anecdotally, I know that the settings of the DBS are almost always optimized for improving motor symptoms rather than speech and swallowing. However, with some of the newer technologies, this should eventually be possible (or may be possible now?) to have different settings for different environments that can be toggled by the PwP.

John Dean

I sometimes wonder if one of the factors preventing Michael J. Fox from pursuing DBS (or an additional thalatomomy) is the very real likelihood that it could have a significant impact on his ability to communicate. I realize that the core vision of his organization is to find a cure for Parkinson's disease rather than a temporary solution but the implications of him losing the ability to communicate his message would be devastating on many levels.

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