Deep Brain Stimulation

A New Treatment Shows Promise in the Most Difficult Cases

Jamie Talan

Cloth • $25.00 • 200 pages 
ISBN: 978-1932594379
Published February 2009

Also available as an e-book.

There are disorders that defy treatment with prescribed pharmaceuticals: a man’s hands shake so hard that he cannot hold anything; a woman is mired in inescapable depression. For these patients and others, an alternative is emerging: deep brain stimulation. In this fascinating and timely investigation, award-winning science writer Jamie Talan explains a cutting-edge medical development that is surprising and impressing researchers around the world.

More than 40,000 people worldwide have undergone deep brain stimulation, which involves implanting electrodes in the brain that are connected to a device similar to a pacemaker. With compelling profiles of patients and an introduction to doctors and scientists who are pioneering the research, Talan describes the ways in which deep brain stimulation has produced promising results in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dystonia—as well as the ethical issues that have arisen in the course of this research.

Deep Brain Stimulation



Part One: Parkinson’s Disease, The Mother Lode

Chapter 1         Breaking Ground: 100 Years of Research

Chapter 2         “Coop, the King”: Controversy on the Frontier

Chapter 3         Finding the Problem in Parkinson’s

Chapter 4         The French Connection

Part Two:        Pioneering with Deep Brain Stimulation

Chapter 5         Learning from the Leads: Dystonia

Chapter 6         Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: DBS for psychiatry

Chapter 7         DBS Teams Take on Depression

Chapter 8         Tourette Syndrome

Chapter 9         Battling Epilepsy

Chapter 10       The Hardest Cases: Pain and Minimal Consciousness

Part Three: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

Chapter 11       Patients, Parameters, and Risks

Chapter 12       Ethics and the Future

A Note on References




"Deep Brain Stimulation is a fascinating, thought-provoking story of one of the most important and promising advances in all of medicine. It is a multilayered tribute to the innovators who continue to advance the field, as well as the brave patients who choose hope in the face of uncertain risk. The story of DBS contains valuable lessons about the nature of medical innovation, and about the ethical complexities that lie ahead as the technology advances."
    –Neurology Today


“Deep brain stimulation opens a new horizon of therapies for many of the chronic brain ailments that trouble humanity. Gifted science writer Jamie Talan takes us through the cautionary tale of its evolution, while showcasing the promise and pitfalls of modern medical technology.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz, Vice chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University and author of YOU: The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

 “Jamie Talan puts her award-winning science writing skills to good use in telling the fascinating story of deep brain stimulation and the hope that offers in treating maladies of mind and brain.”
—Joseph LeDoux, University Professor, New York University, and author of The Emotional Brain and Synaptic Self.