Discoveries Magazine

Cedars-Sinai

CHECK UP

Discoveries magazine is scheduling checkups with some very important people at Cedars-Sinai: doctors, researchers, and patients. You might have read about them and their work in the past—now we’re checking back with them to get updates and progress notes, or find out about their new scientific projects.

Continued Results for Patients with Movement Disorders

Michele Tagliati, MD, director of the Movement Disorders Program, has seen deep brain stimulation work miracles in many people suffering from dystonia, a disorder that makes muscles contract and patients twist into painful, awkward positions.

Electrical leads implanted on each side of the brain, controlled by a programmable pulse generator placed near the collarbone, change the brain’s aberrant activity and, over weeks and months, relax the muscles’ grip, freeing patients to step out of wheelchairs, climb out of beds, and stand tall.

In a recent journal article, Dr. Tagliati tells of two patients whose treatment kept working for months, even after the implanted devices failed. And when the contractions from dystonia came back, they were much milder than before. Michael Sharp, featured in Discoveries (Winter 2012) when he was entering law school, was one of those patients.

“I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but I remember it happening. I went for a checkup and apparently one of the batteries had been dead for about three months. I started to have minor symptoms almost at the same time I found out one of the devices was off,” says Michael, who has another year of school to go.

“Law school is a lot different from undergrad, that’s for sure. It has taken some getting used to,” he says, adding that he’s thinking about going into real estate or probate law. For now, he’s maintaining status quo and just working toward his degree.

“Law school has been taking up most of my life,” he says.

Dr. Tagliati’s research was previously published in our Winter 2012 Feature: Sharp Focus

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