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Bryn hoping new treatment can win Parkinson's battle

A PARKINSON'S sufferer has risked his life to take part in pioneering treatment to find a cure for the condition.

Bryn Williams, 42, from Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, endured a risky operation which involved medical robots drilling into his skull to allow doctors to insert tubes into his brain.

The father-of-two is one of 30 patients taking part in the ground-breaking research being led by neurosurgeon Professor Steven Gill at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

The research aims to work out the effects of delivering the protein Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor directly into the brain using tubes. After three brain scans to calculate the exact measurements of his brain, four tubes were inserted into his head last December during the dangerous five-and-a-half hour operation.

Mr Williams said: "There is a one in 100 death rate from this operation but Professor Hill has carried it out 1000 times and never had an incident due to all the planning he does. I knew there was a risk involved but to be honest I'd bite your hand off for the chance of another five years.

"A robot drilled the holes in my head and a catheter was placed down them and steered into position."

Half of the patients taking part in the treatment will receive a placebo while the others will be given the drug to determine whether the brain port could help improve symptoms such as stiffness, slowness of movement and tremors.

Mr Williams said: "The way I'd explain it is that part of my brain is dying like a plant that hasn't been watered while you are away on holiday. This drug, if it works, is similar to when you return from holiday and water your plants again. Some of them will revive but others will have already died. In the same way some of my brain could be rescued."

Mr Williams will soon be travelling to Bristol every month during the nine-month study so the drug or placebo can be administered into his brain. He intends to climb the 21,000ft mountain Mera in the Himalayas despite struggling to walk.

He added: "My determination to beat this illness grows each year although my ability to move more decreases and I suffer more injuries when I run now. I'm beginning to stiffen up - it's as though I'm slowly being encased in concrete. I'm kind of finished with Parkinson's now and I'm hoping this treatment works because I don't have the energy to search for another cure.

"If this works at least it's all been worthwhile and I can say it's a job well done."

Mr Williams and his supporters have donated £716,000 to Parkinson's charities through his Wobbly Williams website and he raised £110,000 by scaling Mount Kilimanjaro.

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