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Dr. Guy McKhann’s Group Finds Disparity in Use of Deep Brain Stimulators

Dr. Guy McKhannDr. Guy McKhann is senior author* of a paper just published in the Journal of the American Medical AssociationDisparities in Access to Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Parkinson Disease: Interaction Between African American Race and Medicaid Use.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic degenerative neurological condition that stiffens and slows down movement of the body. People with this disease often have a tremor when they are resting. Many long-time sufferers of Parkinson’s Disease are finally getting symptom relief with the implantation of a Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS). To learn more about this treatment for Parkinson’s disease, see our previous post, Parkinson’s Disease: Ready… Aim… Implant!.

Researchers in the Department of Neurosurgery at Columbia University Medical Center set out to examine the effect of factors such as demographics, socioeconomics, and clinical variables on the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

The authors concluded, “[African Americans] received disproportionately fewer DBS procedures compared with their non–African American counterparts. Increased reliance on Medicaid in the African American population may predispose to the DBS use disparity. Various other factors may be responsible, including disparities in access to care, cultural biases or beliefs, and/or socioeconomic status”

The Columbia researchers stressed in their paper that to improve healthcare for African American individuals, it is imperative to recognize and study potential barriers like these that may limit access to care.

Read the full paper online here.

To learn more about Dr. Guy McKhann, see his bio page here.

*Co-authors include: Chan AK, McGovern RA, Brown LT, Sheehy JP, Zacharia BE, Mikell CB, Bruce SS, Ford B, McKhann GM 2nd.

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