Maryland’s Health Matters - UMMS - Summer 2015 - (Page 1)
Deep brain stimulation helps many patients with
Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders
Kapoor was able
to walk again.
left, chair of the
UMMC, and Paul
of neurology at
the University of
t can't be true-they're wrong," Super-
dystonia, a neurological disorder characterized
eena Kapoor thought after doctors
by involuntary muscle spasms. She also had
diagnosed her with Parkinson's dis-
trouble moving around at home and at her job
ease. Kapoor was barely in her 30s and
for a biotechnology company.
a mother of two young children. Didn't
Parkinson's occur only in "old people"?
Kapoor also didn't have the tremors often asso-
"Physically, you don't look like there's anything
wrong with you," she says. "But you could be
walking one minute and frozen the next. That's
ciated with the disease-but the Arnold resident
devastating to most young-onset patients, because
had difficulty writing, and the sensation of a heavi-
you're right smack in the middle of everything."
ness on one side of her body. "My whole right
side seemed like it was dying," she says.
In 2007, eight years after her diagnosis, Kapoor
left her job to minimize stress and to focus on
Researchers estimate that 10 to 20 percent of
home life and her children. Her disease contin-
patients with Parkinson's disease are younger
ued to progress, though, and by 2011 she was in a
than 50, like Kapoor. Doctors prescribed medica-
wheelchair and taking medication every half-hour.
tions to manage her symptoms, which helped.
"I couldn't drive anymore. All my independence
But over the years, the disease took a cumula-
had been taken away," she says. "And I had two
tive toll, physically and mentally. She developed
kids to raise."
Parkinson's disease occurs when an important area of the brain stops
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maryland’s Health Matters - UMMS - Summer 2015
Maryland’s Health Matters - UMMS - Summer 2015