For 20 years, 77-year-old Anne Marino
of Northport, NY, suffered from a rare
neurological condition known as cervical
torticollis, causing her head to shake and
twist to the right.
“I sought treatment at four major
hospitals, desperate for relief,” explained
Mrs. Marino. “Each one spent months
trying to help, but the spasms always
Then Mrs. Marino heard that
Winthrop-University Hospital was
successfully treating Parkinson’s disease
and other movement related disorders
with an advanced surgical procedure
known as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).
DBS delivers electrical stimulation
to targeted regions deep within the brain
– such as the thalamus, sub thalamic
nucleus, and globus pallidus – that
control movement-related communi -
cation. Following DBS, many patients
experience enhanced motor performance
and quality of life, and, in some
cases, marked reductions in medication.
“Deep Brain Stimulation is an
exciting and innovative technology that
allows us to modulate the neurocircuitry
of the brain and achieve great results
with low risk,” said neurosurgeon Brian
J. Snyder, MD, who is among the
physicians at Winthrop providing a full
range of therapies to patients with
DBS is typically performed in two
stages. The first stage involves identifying
the areas within the brain that require
treatment with the assistance of computed
tomography (CT), magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI), and an
advanced technique called microelectrode
recording (MER). Fine microelectrodes
are advanced through the patient’s brain
to “listen” to the cells in the region and
identify the target location – typically
about the size of an almond deep inside
of the brain. Electricity may be placed
through the electrodes to observe its
effects and map the area. When the
proper area is identified, the DBS
electrode is placed in this region.
Not every patient is a candidate for
DBS. All patients at Winthrop are
thoroughly evaluated by their medical
management team to determine the
best course of treatment.
After meeting with Nora L. Chan,
MD, Director of the Movement
Disorders Program at Winthrop, who is
fellowship trained in the diagnosis and
treatment of movement disorders and is
an expert in the use of DBS for select
patients, Mrs. Marino felt confident
that undergoing DBS at Winthrop was
the right option for her.
“They wanted so much to help me,”
she said. “And I trusted them.”
Dr. Snyder preformed Mrs. Marino’s
DBS surgery in April. Though her recovery
took some time, she gradually began
to notice less movement in her head and
neck. One evening this past summer as
she was preparing dinner, Mrs. Marino
realized her head was steady and straight.
“It was a miracle!” said Mrs. Marino.
“I am so happy to finally be able to live
Seventy-two-year-old Mary Clark*
of Huntington, NY, is also deeply grateful
for the relief she’s experienced as a
result of DBS and the outstanding care
that she recently received at Winthrop.
For more than 12 years, Mrs. Clark
suffered from essential tremor – a common
but sometimes debilitating disorder
of the nervous system – which caused
her to experience uncontrollable shaking
in both of her hands. Though she tried
medication therapy for relief, it left her
weak and still suffering with symptoms.
In fact, the tremors had gotten so bad
that Mrs. Clark became limited in what
she could physically do and even eat.
Desperate for improvement, she too
turned to Winthrop for help.
Mrs. Clark underwent DBS –
initially to treat the tremors in her right
hand – and just recently, to treat her left.
Today, she is enjoying the sense of freedom
that comes with being able to do
some of the simple things in life –
things that many people take for granted.
“Now, I can garden, write and even
cut my own meat!” she said recently.
The effects of Parkinson’s disease
and other movement-related disorders,
including dystonias, Tourette’s syndrome
and essential tremor can be debilitating.
Movement Disorders Program offers
the most advanced care and treatment
options for patients suffering with these
and other conditions.
For more information on Winthrop’s
Movement Disorders Program or DBS,
visit www.winthrop.org or call
*Patient’s name has been changed at
her request to protect her privacy.
Vol. 22, No. 3
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