Mom with early Parkinson’s diagnosis recounts deep brain stimulation

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A previous version of this story incorrectly named the surgeon who performed the surgery. The doctor who performed the surgery is Dr. Andre Machado.

Nicole LaBolle was in her 20s when she developed a tremor in her right hand.

She was pregnant with her first child and as her pregnancy progressed, the tremor worsened. Once she gave birth, she couldn’t even use her right arm.

“Nobody thought it was Parkinson’s because of my age,” said LaBolle, adding that by her 28th birthday she had been diagnosed with the disease.

LaBolle reflected on her journey as a young person with Parkinson’s Disease in honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

She’s now 39 and living in Pleasantville, Pennsylvania, about 2 ½ hours from Cleveland, where she underwent a procedure that has drastically improved her quality of life.

A pacemaker for the brain

Dr. Andre Machado performed the surgery, called deep brain stimulation, at the Cleveland Clinic in November of 2022.

Dr. Kristin Appleby is also a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic who has treated LaBolle. She said deep brain stimulation is like a pacemaker for the brain.

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