OHSU patient to begin ‘deep brain stimulation’ treatment to treat tremor

OHSU patient Herb Cronenwett will have a new device activated Wednesday that will work with electrodes inserted in his brain to help treat his essential tremors. (KPTV)

A local veteran’s life is about to change thanks to a groundbreaking device implanted in his brain.

The high-tech medical breakthrough was done at Oregon Health and Science University, where doctors have inserted electrodes into a man’s brain to control the effects of diseases like Parkinson’s.

Herb Cronenwett, 68, is one of just a few people in the United States to get the new deep brain stimulation device.

Cronenwett has a neurological disorder called an essential tremor which causes shaking and symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.

A month ago, OHSU surgeons implanted electrodes on each side of his brain with wires leading down to a control pack in his chest. The device sends pulses through his brain and nervous system to calm his tremors, and he will be able to increase or lower power of those pulses with a remote control.

Cronenwett has had tremors for more than 20 years, and he says this device will allow him to lead a more normal life.

“It gives me the option of doing things that a person really enjoys,” he said. “You know, I could stay with my shakes and go out there and chop wood and everything like that, but without the shakes, it allows me to get into the more fine details, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Cronenwett first got the device a year ago, but he had to have it removed because of infection.

He says it worked amazingly well, though, and his hands were solid as a rock.

His new device will be activated Wednesday.

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