Pinoy with rare brain disease undergoes free surgery in Australia
A Filipino with a rare neurological disease that causes him to suffer uncontrolled rigid movements recently underwent free surgery in Australia to prolong his life.
Gerhard Infante, 49, underwent deep brain surgery (DBS) at Mater Private Hospital in Brisbane to mitigate symptoms of his Lubag Syndrome or X-linked Dystonia-Parkinsonism (XDP), a report on ABC News said.
Dr. Sarah Olson, the primary neurosurgeon, said DBS involved placing fine wires inside Infante's brain to change some of the electrical signals that caused dystonia or involuntary muscle spasms and other symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
According to neurologist Dr. Alex Lehn, the surgery alleviated some of Infante's pain and prolonged his life but would not cure his condition.
Two of Infante's four brothers died because of XDP while his uncle, Von, underwent DBS five years ago.
“He’s a young man with a young wife. Two of his brothers have died from this, with another brother also affected. We’d love to give their family hope again,” Olson said of Infante in an article on Mater's website.
Dr. Virgilio Gerald Evidente, a Filipino doctor, explained in a paper dated 2005 that XDP primarily affected men with a known family history of the condition.
Evidente said XDP originated from the Panay Islands in the Philippines as a "genetic founder effect," or a mutation "observed in high frequency in a specific population due to the presence of that gene mutation in a single ancestor or small number of ancestors."
There is no known cure for XDP but DBS and botox injections are recognized as temporary treatments for the condition. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News