BENGALURU: Eighty two-year-old Ganesh Kavishankar Bhat, a retired Physics professor from NIT Trichy, is the oldest Parkinson’s patient in India to undergo successful Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy (DBS), which delivers electrical pulses to brain cells to decrease symptoms of the disease, recently in the city.
The surgery was done recently at Columbia Asia Referral Hospital in Yeswantpur. Although there is no specific age cut-off defined to conduct this procedure, most clinical studies have excluded patients older than 75 years of age for DBS.
Prof Bhat was suffering from Parkinson’s from the past 11 years. The disease worsened in the last three-four years and he found it impossible to perform his day-to-day activities.
Prof Bhat’s psychological status was assessed in February and a memory test was done in which he scored very high points. So, thereafter he underwent DBS. His surgery went well and now he is able to do his chores again.
It is an awake surgery and needs constant interaction while on the table. A few weeks after surgery, a movement disorder specialist uses a hand-held programmer to set parameters, tailored to each individual’s unique symptoms, into the neurostimulator.
Dr. Raghuram G, Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon, Columbia Asia, told The New Indian Express, “He was very active and hence his brain function was really good. Older patients, above 75, may exhibit memory problems or depression. But, an independent psychological assessment revealed that he was doing better than a 60-year-old so we went ahead with DBS. In review of literature we haven’t found any patient this old who has undergone DBS.”
Prof Bhat is hard on hearing and his 72-year-old wife Tripura Ganesh is the only one to give him company through his recovery as their daughter lives abroad.
A resident of Hanumanthanagar, she says, “His stiffness has reduced. It will take another six months to regain his motor control but he goes to his gym cycle all by himself. We have a home nurse to take care of us.”