By Michael Frantzis
An articulate but apparently anxious woman in her thirties speaks directly to the camera, and to her unseen interviewer, describing her medical history. She seems intelligent, perceptive, engaging — a bit manic perhaps. In reality, Ruth has endured the disabling physical and mental symptoms of Parkinson’s disease for more than twelve years. That she is able to think and speak coherently, and to be relatively free of tremors, she tells us, is due to a procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in which electrodes are implanted deep in the brain and a device similar to a heart pacemaker is implanted under the skin. Using a hand-held device almost like a television remote, she can switch off many of the symptoms of the disease that have kept her a virtual prisoner in her own body for years:
“It was miraculous...He told me to start talking and suddenly for the first time in many years I could talk non-stop, I could think coherently, my words came out coherently and I carried on talking absolute crap the whole time until the Professor said, ‘OK, Ruth, now you be quiet and let me do the talking’.”
The moment when she calmly switches off the DBS device in front of the camera is shocking, and it is anguishing to watch her begin to tremble, and to see her verbal abilities begin to deteriorate before our eyes. This straightforward production offers unique insights into the workings of the human brain, and an unusual opportunity to view the impact of modern biomedical technology in action.
Purchase $229 DVD
Order No. QA-469
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-895-2
"Ruth's highly personal story has universal relevance for Parkinson's patients and their loved ones. Recommended. Three stars." Video Librarian
"The value of Ruth lies in having a Parkinson's patient talk candidly about the disease and about the deep brain stimulation procedure. Perfect for classroom showing. A valuable addition for all college level health sciences classes. Recommended." Educational Media Reviews Online
Awards & Conference Screenings
The Gold Hugo Award, 2007 Intercom
Western Psychological Association
Vedere la Scienza Festival, Italy,
International Sheffield DocFest
Vision du Reel, Switzerland
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To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website