Dr. Daniel Kramer, MD was featured in a Stanford Parkinson’s Community Outreach Program on June 18. The presentation, “Answering your questions about DBS” was an informative resource for the local DBS community. Dr. Kramer, a Stanford neurosurgical fellow, clinical instructor in neurosurgery, completed his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in cognitive science and philosophy. He completed his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania and his neurosurgical training at the University of Southern California.
Dr. Kramer completed his fellowship in Stereotactic and Functional neurosurgery at Stanford, and soon he will move to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to start a job as a surgeon in Denver. He said he learned a lot at Stanford, including frameless-techniques for DBS (where the head is free to move), DBS research trials for obesity and traumatic brain injury, and surgery for epilepsy and facial pain. He also expressed that he is excited to start his position in Denver and will be focusing on Parkinson’s disease, Essential Tremor, Epilepsy surgery, and facial pain.
He will also be starting a brain computer interface program to restore motor control and sensation to paralyzed individuals, and will be using recordings during DBS surgeries to better understand the diseased circuitry behind movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. He is also excited about being in Denver, as he is an avid trail runner and, “loves a good mountain”.
Dr. Kramer explained the basics – Deep Brain Surgery (DBS) is great for people who have motor symptoms, including rigidity, bradykinesia, and tremor, or want to decrease medications. DBS does not do as well to fix sleep disturbances, orthostatic hypotension, constipation, swallowing difficulties or drooling. He also left plenty of time for individual questions.
I wanted to know about the requirement of taking an antibiotic preventatively before dental hygienist appointments, a procedure that used to be recommended after DBS by many hospitals. Stanford has researched the subject and no longer requires that people with DBS take antibiotics prior to teeth cleaning.
He updated the group on the progress of new batteries offered by Boston Scientific, Abbott and Medtronic. The three companies have a variety of new features including rechargeable batteries good for 15 years, different settings to decrease symptoms and avoid side-effects, and sensing technology for possible “closed-loop” stimulation (sensing different brain states that require different stimulation parameters) that have been recently approved. Although the technology is very exciting, studies to demonstrate clinical improvements from these advancements are on-going.
Questions might simmer on the back burner for a long time, due to the small amount of time that patients have during their neurologist appointments. The Zoom format is the perfect method to post a few questions on Zoom’s Chat and clear the cobwebs our heads.
The PD community of Denver is about to inherit a gifted doctor who can explain brain surgery with clarity and precision.