A bit more than three years ago, a fresh-faced young rascal of a lad saw an advertisement on a web site looking for people to volunteer for brain surgery.
"Golly," the young lad said. "I'll have to discuss this with my wife, but JEEPERS! This seems like a good idea!"
So after talking the subject over with his wife, his mommy, his neurologist and others, this rapscallion of a boy traveled from DC to Nashville and signed up for a Phase I Clinical Trial of Deep Brain Stimulation for folks in the earlier stages of Parkinson's disease.
After testing of the physical and neurological and psychiatric kind, the experts found our protagonist suitable for the study and he was invited to join. A total of 30 would become members of this exclusive club. Fifteen would be randomized to the surgical group, the other 15 would be randomized to the control group — meaning they would continue their regular therapy and be used to compare against those who had the surgery.
Well now, gentle reader, three years and more have gone by, and the medical wizards at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are sufficiently encouraged by the results that they are seeking permission to expand their study from the original 30 volunteers to a nationwide cohort of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people with Parkinson's disease across the nation who meet the study criteria.
Now, as you have no doubt ascertained (because you're SMART!), I am that fresh-faced scallywag mentioned at the head of this article. I had bilateral deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nuclei in June 2007. And I have written a book about the subject called No Doorway Wide Enough. (The title comes from when I was a young medic in the Navy and wondered why some older folks had to "size up" a door before walking through it. I understand it now.) I also blog on a daily basis.