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Patient suffering from Tourette syndrome finds relief with Deep Brain Stimulation

HARTFORD -- Since he was a child, Brian Smuda of Enfield suffered from Tourette syndrome. The treatment he received caused a condition called Dystonia, which causes uncontrollable muscle spasms and constant twitching movements.

“My quality of life was laying on the floor, rolling around," said Smuda. “If I was tired enough and wore myself out in bed, I ultimately would fall asleep at that point.”

When he met Toni de Marcaida, the medical director at the Hartford Healthcare Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, Smuda's life changed for the better.

“When I met him, he was curled up and constantly twisting -- his whole body, every part of his body was twisting," said de Marcaida.

She said she will never forget the Brian she met that first day and the Brian she knows now.

“I am very proud of Brian," said de Marcaida. I’m very proud of the journey he has been on and the victory he enjoys today.”

The team at the center got a special dispensation from the FDA to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation with Doctor Patrick Senatus.

“The way the brain functions is a combination of electrical and chemical activity," said Dr. Senatus. "That electrical and chemical activity can be affected by adding a new factor there.”

That surgery in August completely changed Brian's life. He can now do what he loves to do: hike, kayak, boat and spread joy.

“If you get the option to have Deep Brain Stimulation to reduce your tremors, twitches, go for it if you can," he said.

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