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Improved access to deep brain stimulation for people with Parkinson’s Disease Beginning April 1st

People with Parkinson’s disease whose symptoms can no longer be controlled with medication will have improved access to deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Tuesday that 72 primary insertions will now be performed annually in B.C.through a five-point plan that the ministry has developed with Vancouver Coastal Health.

“That’s a more than 100 percent increase in primary insertion cases in 2016/17 when only 31 were performed,” he said.

“This increase will mean all new patients added to the waitlist will have their procedures completed after a period of time within the current benchmark of 12 weeks.”

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Dix said that is significantly down from the average wait time of 72 weeks now.

Through the surgical implantation of equipment, DBS uses electrical impulses to stimulate a target area in the brain. Its’ benefits can include fewer tremors, improved facial expression, and reductions in medication.

“DBS is a specialized procedure and as I’ve said before it is not right for everyone, even most people with Parkinson’s Disease,” Dix said.

“That’s why in addition to providing greater access to DBS we recently expanded coverage criteria for Parkinson’s medication through the B.C. Pharmacare Program.”

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