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Highlights • Allegheny Health Network

Rick Battaglia of Latrobe, Pennsylvania

First he noticed the limp. Soon, he lost sensation in his left arm. Rick Battaglia, then in his early 40s, thought it was a pinched nerve, but his physicians told him something different—the symptoms were being caused by early-stage Parkinson’s disease.

For Rick: Early-stage Parkinson's well under control

First he noticed the limp. Soon, he lost sensation in his left arm. Rick Battaglia, then in his early 40s, thought it was a pinched nerve, but his physicians told him something different—the symptoms were being caused by early-stage Parkinson’s disease.

"My reaction to the diagnosis was not good," said Rick, golf pro at the Latrobe Elks Golf Club in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. "It's not what I was expecting at my age." The father and husband in him worried about the toll the progressive nervous system disorder would take on his wife, Jennifer, and their children. The golf pro in him worried about his livelihood and his ability to continue playing and teaching the game of golf.

Medication kept the symptoms at bay for a few years. But "he was getting less and less benefit, and more and more side effects" from the medication, said Dr. Donald Whiting, chair of Allegheny Health Network’s Neuroscience Institute and surgical director of its nationally recognized Center for Movement Disorders. "It was limiting his life."

Together, Dr. Whiting and Rick agreed that the next step in their treatment plan would be deep brain stimulation, or DBS. Dr. Whiting is one of the world’s foremost experts in the use of DBS to treat movement disorders, a technique that delivers small, precisely targeted electrical impulses to the brain to reduce tremors and to block involuntary motor-control symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease and other motion disorders.

"I could tell right away it was helping me," said Rick. "And the tremors disappeared almost instantly."

Today, Rick’s symptoms remain well under control, and he’s back to his life with his family and in full swing on the golf course, too, thanks to the exceptional care he’s been receiving through the Allegheny Health Network and its Neuroscience Institute.

AHN's multidisciplinary team of brain, spine and neurological specialists treats a full range of conditions, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and ALS. And through its growing telemedicine program, AHN can link the right experts to the right patients, no matter where they live.


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