Jim Arlinghaus was exhausted by the near-constant tremors caused by his quickly progressing Parkinson’s disease.

The Erlanger man was diagnosed with the neurological disorder at 44. By the fall of 2005, at age 54, he was taking maximum dosages of medication — but his condition deteriorated rapidly.

“Just a simple thing like a shower was an effort,” he recalls. “I was so exhausted from the shivering and shaking and twitching and squirming.”

Doctors at the new James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease suggested intervention. A neurosurgeon, Dr. George Mandybur, would drill two holes into Arlinghaus’ skull and embed electrodes in his brain, a surgical treatment called deep-brain stimulation.

Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological disorder that causes tremors and loss of motor control. With deep-brain stimulation, battery-controlled electrodes act like a pacemaker, regulating targeted brain activity to control Parkinson’s symptoms.

Mandybur, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati, has witnessed the positive outcomes. “I would say a good 90 percent of patients have an improvement, whether it’s minor or major.”

The Gardner Center, established in September 2007 with a $5.5 million endowment from the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation, offers patients advanced medical treatments and opportunities to participate in clinical studies of new therapies. The center is part of The Neuroscience Institute, a collaborative effort of University of Cincinnati, the Mayfield Clinic and University Hospital.

The Neuroscience Institute further solidifies University Hospital’s reputation as one of the nation’s top medical facilities. The 437-bed medical and research campus treats more than 500,000 inpatients and outpatients annually. A member of the Health Alliance, University is affiliated with UC’s College of Medicine and with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The Gardner Center also treats stroke, brain and spinal tumors, epilepsy, traumatic brain and spinal injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, and a wide range of psychiatric and sensory disorders. The Neuroscience Institute was the first national Davis Phinney Research Center for Parkinson’s disease, named after the former Tour de France cyclist who was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s at age 40. Phinney himself received the deep-brain stimulation treatment this spring and is seeing results similar to what Jim Arlinghaus experienced, Mandybur reports.

As for Arlinghaus, at age 56 he’s working a normal schedule, managing stock at Signode Corp. in Florence, and coaches a youth baseball team. The brain stimulation therapy helped him reduce his Parkinson’s medication by more than 65 percent. “Considering the results, it was the least painful thing I’ve ever done, and the most helpful.”