#4: Pierre Pollak – How modern-day Deep Brain Stimulation for movement disorders was introduced in Grenoble

In this episode, Pierre Pollak shares insight about his life in neurology, music and sports and how he introduced modern-day deep brain stimulation for movement disorders together with Alim Louis Benabid and the team in Grenoble in 1987. After his retirement from academia and neurology, Pierre took up playing piano and spending time with physical activity (cycling, winter sports, etc) – and he mentioned that our conversation was the first about deep brain stimulation he had in over five years.

He talks about the first patients that received deep brain stimulation for tremor – the first one using an externalized stimulator approved for animal use only over the course of three weeks. We then advance to the incredible anecdote of how Patricia Limousin switched on the first bilateral STN stimulation to treat a patient suffering from severe akinetic Parkinson’s Disease. For both, it was incredible how the patient could walk – without any help from pharmacological drugs.

Pierre Pollak plays Chopin Ballade n°1

Colleagues mentioned in the episode include

  • Paul Krack
  • Günther Deuschl
  • Yves Agid
  • Alim Louis Benabid
  • Jean Perret
  • Denise Albe-Fessard
  • Gerard Guiot
  • Marwan Hariz
  • Patricia Limousin
  • Claire Ardouin
  • Abdelhamid Benazzouz