Study: DBS Helps Parkinson's Patients

BETHESDA, Md., June 3 (UPI) — U.S. medical investigators say deep brain stimulation at two different targets produces similar motor improvements in Parkinson’s disease patients.

The Department of Veterans Affairs study, funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, compared how individuals with Parkinson’s disease respond to deep brain stimulation at two different sites in the brain. They said they found patients who received DBS at either site in the brain experienced comparable benefits for the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.

The two-year study involved nearly 300 patients at 13 clinical sites.

“These results establish that DBS delivered to these two brain areas linked to key motor control pathways can have equivalent effects on tremor, stiffness and other motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director at NINDS. “The important question now becomes how stimulation at each site affects some of the other important, non-motor symptoms and how to best individualize DBS therapy.”

The research — led by Dr. Kenneth Follett, formerly with the Iowa City VA Medical Center; Professor Frances Weaver, director of complex clinical care at the Hines VA Hospital in Chicago; and Dr. Matthew Stern of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center — is reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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