‘Absolute Lifesaver:’ New Hampshire Pastor Talks Deep Brain Stimulation Treatment

June 12, 2023

Jared RardinRev. Jared Rardin was doing what he’d always done: delivering a sermon at the South Congregation Church in Concord, New Hampshire, where he has been a pastor for over 20 years. He’d been living with Parkinson’s disease for a long time at that point, and dealing with the tremors was just a part of his daily life.

To his surprise, members of his congregation approached him at the end of his sermon to express their concern. His condition was getting worse, and they were noticing.

As a pastor, Jared was used to being the caregiver. It was his life’s mission. Now the roles were reversed. “I was suddenly in the position of not being the caregiver, but the care receiver,” he said.

Jared started working with Dr. Diana Apetauerova at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) in 2018 to help him better manage his symptoms, but as time went on, Dr. Apetauerova realized his tremors were becoming more severe; the medications he took just weren’t working anymore.

That’s when she suggested, “Let’s think about deep brain stimulation surgery,” she said.

When a person suffers from Parkinson’s disease, the neurochemistry in the brain is out of balance. Deep brain stimulation, or DBS, is a highly advanced surgical procedure in which specialists place a small electrode in the part of the brain that controls symptoms of the condition. The implant sends a small electrical impulse into the brain to recalibrate the local neurochemistry, creating a more even internal balance and giving the patient relief from tremors and other symptoms.

LHMC was one of the first medical centers to develop deep brain stimulation, and it was the first in the Boston area to introduce the technology. Patients suffering from a variety of neurological conditions, including Huntington’s disease, Wilson disease, and restless legs syndrome can find life-saving relief from DBS.

Like many other patients who undergo DBS treatment at LHMC, Jared has seen a remarkable improvement in his symptoms.

“His tremor was severe,” said Dr. Apetauerova, “but you put on [the deep brain stimulation device] and the tremor goes. It’s like a miracle.”

Bringing the tremors under control has had a major impact on Jared’s quality of life. Where he once struggled performing basic tasks, he now he has the freedom to give himself more fully to those who depend on him.

“DBS for me has been a godsend,” he said, “because it’s given me back the ability to be available to people and share a sermon with more verve, more power, more me.”

Watch a video about Jared’s story and visit our page for more information about deep brain stimulation and our other treatment options.

About Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) is a world-renowned tertiary academic medical center known for its innovative technology, pioneering medical treatments and leading-edge research. As a physician-led hospital, LHMC offers a legacy of care and education committed to putting the patient at the center through a multidisciplinary, collaborative and team-based approach. LHMC’s research efforts and clinical trials cross numerous medical disciplines, providing patients with access to the latest options in treatment and care.

LHMC is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,700 physicians and 39,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.

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