Tourette’s sufferer to undergo brain stimulation



Mike Sullivan who suffers from Tourette’s is to undergo a pioneering form of brain surgery.

Mr Sullivan, 32, from Exeter, is to have deep brain stimulation to help reduce his involuntary tics.

The procedure has proved effective in treating Parkinson’s disease, cluster headaches and depression by sending electrical impulses to control brain activity.

Mr Sullivan was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 12 and became the victim of bullying and teasing at school.

After Mr Sullivan’s symptoms became worse he opted for deep brain stimulation.

Describing the condition as exhausting and mentally draining, Mr Sullivan, who works with the public at the Exeter Register Office, said he has to work hard to suppress the almost continual tics.

“I can, up to a point, control it… but I’m always looking for a way out if people are staring,”

Mr Sullivan said he was aware of the risks involved in undergoing brain surgery, but if it led to any improvement in his condition it would be worth it.

“Whilst I’m scared and it’s not something I’d choose to do, it’s more than worth the risk,” he said.

“If it improves me even by 5% or 10%, it will make such a massive difference to my quality of life.”

Few procedures have been carries out worldwide but Mr Sullivan has been advised treatment by Dr Tim Harrower, a consultant neurologist at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

Dr Harrower said: “It’s reasonably safe, but still I think Mike’s being extremely brave to do this because it is pioneering and cutting edge”.

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