Distributor:  The Fanlight Collection
Length:  31 minutes
Date:  2007
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Color/BW:  Color
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A vivid look at the benefits of Deep Brain Stimulation for a Parkinson's disease patient.


An articulate but apparently anxious woman in her thirties speaks directly to the camera, and to her unseen interviewer, describing her medical history. She seems intelligent, perceptive, engaging a bit manic perhaps. In reality, Ruth has endured the disabling physical and mental symptoms of Parkinson's disease for more than twelve years. That she is able to think and speak coherently, and to be relatively free of tremors, she tells us, is due to a procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in which electrodes are implanted deep in the brain and a device similar to a heart pacemaker is implanted under the skin. Using a hand-held device almost like a television remote, she can switch off many of the symptoms of the disease that have kept her a virtual prisoner in her own body for years:

'It was miraculous...He told me to start talking and suddenly for the first time in many years I could talk non-stop, I could think coherently, my words came out coherently and I carried on talking absolute crap the whole time until the Professor said, 'OK, Ruth, now you be quiet and let me do the talking'.'

The moment when she calmly switches off the DBS device in front of the camera is shocking, and it is anguishing to watch her begin to tremble, and to see her verbal abilities begin to deteriorate before our eyes. This straightforward production offers unique insights into the workings of the human brain, and an unusual opportunity to view the impact of modern biomedical technology in action.

'Ruth's highly personal story has universal relevance for Parkinson's patients and their loved ones. Recommended. Three stars.' -Video Librarian

'The value of Ruth lies in having a Parkinson's patient talk candidly about the disease and about the deep brain stimulation procedure. Perfect for classroom showing. A valuable addition for all college level health sciences classes. Recommended.' -Educational Media Reviews Online


** The Gold Hugo Award, 2007 Intercom
** Western Psychological Association
** Vedere la Scienza Festival, Italy, Best Documentary
** International Sheffield DocFest
** Vision du Reel, Switzerland
** Courtisame, Belgium


Main credits

Frantzis, Michael (film director)
Rees, Hefin (film producer)

Other credits

Editor, Olivier Kaempfer; director of photography, Robert Wilton.

Distributor credits

A film by Michael Frantzis

Docuseek2 subjects

Medical Procedures
Other Chronic Illness
Physical Disabilities

Distributor subjects

Chronic Illness / Heart Disease
Fanlight Collection
Health Care Issues
Neuroscience and Neurology
Women's Health
Women's Studies


DVD; Video; Film ; Documentary; ruth; deep brain stimulation; DBS; disability; physical disability; parkinson; parkinson's disease; pacemaker; implant; remote control; human brain; brain; biomedical technology; biomedical; technology; healthcare; chronic illness; illness; "Ruth"; The Fanlight Collection

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