The movement disorders surgery program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago specializes in the treatment of symptoms related to Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and dystonia using surgical interventions including deep brain stimulation (DBS). Most movement disorders patients can be appropriately treated with medication by a qualified neurologist. The movement disorders surgery program is geared toward patients whose symptoms cannot be adequately managed through medication or whose medication is causing such significant side effects as to prove a medical management approach ineffective.
Deep brain stimulation or DBS is a therapy that, for some patients, has proven to be effective in controlling some of the primary motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. The therapy works by electrically stimulating the structures in the brain involved in motor control.
Deep brain stimulation for movement disorders is available for carefully selected patients who have undergone thorough evaluation. In most cases, a referral from the treating neurologist is required prior to scheduling an appointment with the program.
The movement disorders surgery program offers a coordinated, multidiscplinary approach with a highly experienced team, including a neurosurgeon, neurologist, physician assistant, nurse practioner, neuropsychologist, speech therapist and social worker.
Leo Verhagen, MD, PhD specializes in the medical and surgical management of patients with Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders such as essential tremor and dystonia.
Verhagen earned his medical degree from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 1983. He completed a fellowship with the Division of Restorative Neurology and Human Neurobiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas and a neurology residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Upon completion, he accepted a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, in the Experimental Therapeutics Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, where his main focus was on pharmacological studies of motor response complications in Parkinson's disease. In 2002, Verhagen earned his doctorate from the University of Leiden based on his studies of motor response complications in Parkinson's disease.
- Bryan Bernard, PhD, is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in the neuropsychology of movement disorders. He obtained his doctorate in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University and has been at Rush for over 25 years. Bernard assesses the cognitive and emotional functioning prior to surgery for deep brain stimulation.
- Jessica A. Karl, PA-C, is a nationally certified physician assistant who works closely with Verhagen in the management of patients in the deep brain stimulation (DBS) program. She received her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Northern Illinois University and her master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Rush. Her goals are to ensure smooth communication and to carry out the most comprehensive and excellent care to patients in the DBS surgical program.
- Margaret Yesko, RN, MSN, ANP, is an accomplished nurse practitioner who has been at Rush University Medical Center for more than 10 years. She has extensive experience in both neurology and neurosurgery. She completed her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Marquette University and her Master of Science of nursing with certification as an adult nurse practitioner at Rush University.
She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Neuroscience Nurses and the American Academy of Neurology.
10 Mountains 10 Years
Deep brain stimulation surgery at Rush is featured in the documentary, "10 Mountains 10 Years." It tells the story of Parkinson's disease patient Ken Glowienke and a group of mountain climbers striving to scale 10 of the greatest peaks in the world to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Learn more.