Parkinson's patient Greg Grindley

Live TV to Life-Changing Moment:

Parkinson’s patient experiences benefits of DBS therapy after undergoing brain surgery live on television.

Greg Grindley is looking forward to taking his wife dancing – and maybe even getting back on a motorcycle.

“I’m excited to have some of my life back,” says Grindley, a 49-year old electrician who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago.

Grindley had just retired from a 20-year career in the Navy when he first began noticing the tremors. He ignored them at first, but they got worse. Drug treatment helped some ofthe symptoms subside, but others emerged from various medications.

Grindley DBS live surgery

In October 2015, Grindley underwent the first-ever televised brain surgery in the U.S. (image courtesy: National Geographic)

In October 2015, Grindley underwent the first-ever televised brain surgery in the United States at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Broadcast live on the National Geographic Channel, surgeons implanted a Medtronic deep brain stimulation(DBS) device in hopes it would manage some of the movement symptoms of his Parkinson’s.

“If my story can help someone else, that’s what I want,” he said following the procedure.

DBS is a procedure used to treat some of the movement symptoms of essential tremor and Parkinson’s. The device provides stimulation through electrodes implanted in the brain to manage uncontrollable shaking, stiffness and slow movement.

One month after the surgery, our camera crew captured the moment his device was turned on.

“This is like Christmas,” he said, just minutes after his tremor subsided and the cane that he had used for almost a decade was put aside.“This is more than I expected.”

For the first time in 10 years, Grindley's uncontrollable shaking subsides in his right arm.

For the first time, the uncontrollable shaking subsides in his right arm.

“We will have several more visits to find out how much stimulation he needs,” says Dr. Camilla Kilbane, Greg’s neurologist. “But his life will be more predictable and he will have control over his tremor. Hopefully, he can go on and do what he wants to in life.”

Grindley says he knows the therapy won’t stop the progression of Parkinson’s, but the procedure has been a life-changing experience.

“I tell people not to give up and don’t give an inch,” he says. “There’s more I want to do.”

Important Safety Information

This therapy is not for everyone. Not everyone who receives DBS Therapy will receive the same results. A prescription is required. Patients should always discuss the potential risks and benefits of the therapy with a physician.

Bilateral stimulation of the internal globus pallidus (GPi) or the subthalamic nucleus (STN) using Medtronic DBS Therapy for Parkinson's Disease is indicated for adjunctive therapy in reducing some of the symptoms in individuals with levodopa-responsive Parkinson's disease of at least 4 years’ duration that are not adequately controlled with medication, including motor complications of recent onset (from 4 months to 3 years) or motor complications of longer-standing duration.

Placing the DBS system requires brain surgery. Risks of brain surgery may include serious complications such as coma, bleeding inside the brain, seizures and infection. Some of these may be fatal. Once implanted, the system may become infected, parts may wear through your skin, and the lead or lead/extension connector may move.  Medtronic DBS Therapy could stop suddenly because of mechanical or electrical problems.  Any of these situations may require additional surgery or cause your symptoms to return.

Medtronic DBS Therapy may cause worsening of some motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease and may cause speech and language impairments. In patients receiving Medtronic DBS Therapy, depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide have been reported. Occurrence of “fall” has also been reported in patients with Parkinson’s disease. 

This therapy should not be used for patients who will be exposed to diathermy (deep heat treatment). Medtronic DBS systems are MR Conditional which means they are safe for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans under certain conditions. MRI should only be performed as described in the product labeling.

Healthcare professionals must review the product technical manual prior to use for detailed disclosure.  For information on indications, safety, and warnings, call Medtronic at (800) 328-0810 or visit Medtronic’s website at