Four Emiratis Become First to Benefit From “Life Changing” Treatment

Four Emirati nationals are looking forward to taking back their lives from Parkinson’s disease after benefiting from the UAE’s first deep brain stimulation operations.

The surgeries, which each lasted between four and eight hours, took place over a period of just four days following comprehensive evaluations to ensure the patients were good candidates for the surgery. Evaluations for deep brain stimulation involve a multidisciplinary team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, physical therapists, speech therapists, and a neuropsychologist in order to cater to each patient’s specific needs.

The complex surgery can significantly reduce the symptoms patients experience, reducing their need for medication and improving their quality of life. The electrodes are controlled by a small device implanted under the patient’s skin.

“Deep brain stimulation is an intricate procedure that will transform both the lives of patients and the way Parkinson’s disease is treated in the UAE. The level of expertise required to offer this surgery is phenomenal and I am extremely proud of the whole team for coming together to offer these patients a new level of care and a life less reliant on medication and with fewer symptoms,” says Dr. Florian Roser, Chair of the Neurological Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

During the surgery, neurosurgeons implant electrodes into precise areas of the brain to block rogue signals that cause motor problems such as tremors. These areas are identified in advance using advanced imaging technologies that inform each patient’s unique surgical plan.

“Deep brain stimulation is a particularly complex endeavor that relies on detailed planning and submillimeter precision. Using some of the worlds most advanced imaging techniques, our team is able to determine the exact areas of the brain causing a patient’s symptoms. Once identified, the challenge is to place the electrode at those precise points through the brain. Each case is unique and dramatically different to most surgeries,” says Dr. Tanmoy Maiti, the neurosurgeon who performed the surgeries at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Reflecting the close level of collaboration between colleagues, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s deep brain stimulation program draws on Cleveland Clinic in Ohio’s more than twenty years of experience in the field, performing more than 150 deep brain stimulation surgeries per year. The surgical team received support in the UAE’s first deep brain stimulation surgeries from Dr. Andre Machado who flew to Abu Dhabi from the United States for the surgeries.

“Cleveland Clinic is a global, integrated organization and all parts are mutually supportive. Our team trained the surgical team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and also discussed each patient’s surgical candidacy. It was a great pleasure to be in Abu Dhabi to support the success of the first few surgeries and the Cleveland team will continue to support this very important program,” says Dr. Andre Machado, Institute Chair, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic.

The patients were younger than the average group with Parkinson’s disease, which is most common in people over the age of 60. However, a growing proportion of patients around the world are being diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease, interfering with their family, social and work lives.[1]

“Parkinson’s disease can have a tremendous impact on a person both physically and mentally. As their symptoms progress, they can begin to feel isolated and alone, unwilling or unable to live their life as they did before. This is particularly true of early onset Parkinson’s that can affect people in the prime of their lives, depriving them of things many of us take for granted,” says Dr. Shivam Om Mittal, a neurologist specialized in Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

This was particularly true for Mohammed Al Aryani, a 49-year-old who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2003 at the age of 32. As his symptoms progressed, he shied away from social contact due to the severity of his symptoms and the shame he associated with them.

“I left my job, stopped my studies and even stopped leaving home for a long time. I wasn’t able to see my own children because I didn’t want them to see me like this. After my surgery, I would like to continue my studies and get my bachelor’s degree, to be able to enhance and move ahead with my career. Most importantly, I cannot wait to be close to my children again and live a normal life,” says Mohammed.

Speaking ahead of his surgery, Rashed Alhebsi, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015, was excited at the prospect of getting his life back.

“I could not move properly or go to work normally. My mental health deteriorated, and I could not socialize anymore. When my doctors told me about deep brain stimulation, I went online and did my research about the procedure, watched videos, and read a lot. I am proud of the UAE leadership and proud to be an Emirati. We have the best healthcare technology and skills. I look forward to becoming more active and socializing again,” says Rashed.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, is the only hospital in the UAE equipped with the requisite technology and infrastructural expertise to offer deep brain stimulation to patients as a team. The surgery relies on advanced technologies to help doctors map the patient’s brain and monitor them during surgery as well as the post-surgical adjustment of the device.

The hospital’s Neurological Institute offers a multidisciplinary approach to patients with movement disorders. The team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, physical therapists, speech therapists, nurses and others in order to cater to each patient’s specific needs. The entire team is permanently based in Abu Dhabi and available for patients at any time before or after surgery.

For more information or to book an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, call 800 8 CCAD (2223) visit or download the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi app.

About Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi:

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, is a multispecialty hospital on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the following Institutes: Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye, Respiratory, Critical Care, Surgical Subspecialties, Medical Subspecialties, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, Quality & Patient Safety, and Clinical & Nursing. In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 394 (expandable to 490) bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American/European Board Certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Al Ain began offering select medical services in December 2017. The facility is located on the Tawam Hospital Campus in Al Ain.

About Mubadala Health:

Mubadala Health is the integrated healthcare network of Mubadala Investment Company. Established 2021, Mubadala Health operates, manages, and develops a portfolio of healthcare assets including: Abu Dhabi Telemedicine Centre (ADTC), Amana Healthcare, Capital Health Screening Centre (CHSC), Healthpoint, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), and National Reference Laboratory (NRL). In addition, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is an integral part of Mubadala Health. With a vision to transform the regional healthcare landscape, Mubadala Health sets a new benchmark for the UAE and regional healthcare industry through its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class caregivers who strive to put patients first across its continuum of care. Innovation, research, and education are the foundational pillars of Mubadala Health, supporting the further development of a sustainable healthcare sector in line with the vision of Abu Dhabi and the region.