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PCH uses deep brain stimulation to treat Dystonia sufferers

Several children who suffer from a neurological movement disorder known as Dystonia have made amazing recoveries at Phoenix Children's Hospital. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- Several children who suffer from a neurological movement disorder known as Dystonia have made amazing recoveries at Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Kaitlyn Bryson and Manuel Ortiz both appeared to be healthy kids until the condition left them twisting, making repetitive movements and having abnormal postures.

"We have children who are normally progressing in life, and then they go to serious deterioration stepwise, said Doctor Ratan Bardwaj. "They go from normal kids playing in a park, to stepwise deterioration where they're bed bound."

Both Bryson and Ortiz were treated with something called deep brain stimulation.

"It's an operation where we implant electrodes deep in the brain, and then tunnel to a battery in the chest or abdomen," Bardwaj said. "We can then program it from the outside skin after that."

Kaitlyn's mother, Carrie Bryson, says it's been a long road for her daughter.

She and Kaitlyn were both crying as Carre described the ordeal.

"The best way to describe it, is a little girl laying on a blanket and not being able to do anything," said Carrie. "That fact that she's sitting here today is really miraculous."

Bardwaj said that something that Kaitlyn said has inspired him. "She said to me ‘Thank you for making me feel more human," said Bardwaj.

Meanwhile Ortiz was able to run around as his sister was chasing him around a garden area of the hospital on Friday.

The hospital has used the operation to treat six patients so far.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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