Bruno V. Gallo, M.D. is the Medical Director of the Center and joined First Choice Neurology and Baptist Health after 12 years in academic medicine.
In 1998, he acquired expertise in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and was among the early pioneers of this therapy for movement disorders (Parkinson disease, Essential tremors and dystonia). He has been involved in implanting over 850 patients. He also performs pre-operative evaluation, intra-operative recording and testing and post-operative programming of deep brain stimulation (DBS) patients, vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) and the newly approved Duopa Intestinal Gel therapy pump system.
He has written or co-written book chapters on Parkinson Disease, Epilepsy Surgery for the Elderly; HIV and Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy, and Deep Brain Stimulation. He has also published numerous abstracts and manuscripts in Neurology, Muscle & Nerve, Epilepsia, JAMA-Neurology, NEJM and Epilepsy Research.
Deep Brain Stimulation is a neurosurgical procedure that involves electrical stimulation through implanted electrodes to specific parts of the brain. It is theorized that the electrodes regulate abnormal impulses by producing electrical fields in brain tissues. Impulses, improving symptoms of patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and epilepsy. A generator (or battery) is implanted in the chest below the collar bone just where a cardiac pacemaker would be placed.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive chronic neurological condition that affects movement. It involves a gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the midbrain section of the central nervous system known as the substantia nigra. Early symptoms of the disease include shaking, resting termor, slowed movement, rigidity, and difficulty walking. Thinking and behavioral problems may arise in later stages. Dementia is a common occurrence in advanced stages of the disease while depression is the most common psychiatric symptom. Symptoms may also include sleep disturbances, sensory, and emotional problems. Parkinson’s disease is found more commonly in older people, usually beginning between the ages of 50 to 65 more prevalent in men than women.
The most common movement disorder, essential tremor is a nervous system disorder that causes uncontrollable and rhythmic shaking. Essential tremor can occur in almost any area of the body, but most often occurs in the hands and fingers while trying to move. This disorder can occur at any age but is more common in individuals 40 and older. Often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor is a distinct disorder, although some individuals may suffer from both conditions. it is treated with medication and if needed Deep Brain Stimulation, where the results are most impressive.
Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder which causes an individual’s muscles to contract involuntarily, prolonged and slow often painful muscular contractions can deform joints in arms, hands, legs and toes. The contractions cause the affected body parts to move and twist uncontrollably, resulting in repetitive movements and abnormal postures. It can affect one muscle group or the entire body. Symptoms can be mild or severe and disabling affecting your ability to perform daily tasks. It is most effectively treated with injections of Botox and DBS.
Epilepsy is a group of related neurological disorders characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. Epileptic seizures are episodes of detectable vigorous shaking lasting briefly or for long periods of time. Seizures can often be controlled with proper medication or surgical treatments when indicated. Individuals who do not respond to medication may consider surgery, neurostimulation or changes in special diet. The FDA has granted pre-market approval for DBS in patients with refractory partial onset seizures. This approval is based on a seven year study of stimulation known as the SANTE trial. Seizure severity and the quality of life and scales both showed statistically significant improvements compared to baseline by the time patients were at year seven.