Tags: brain | pacemaker | parkinson

'Brain Pacemaker' Treats Parkinson's

Monday, 25 Jun 2012 12:38 PM


A "brain pacemaker" that delivers deep brain stimulation (DBS) with electrical impulses has been found to be an effective treatment for Parkinson's disease symptoms for at least three years, according to a new study.
Researchers, writing in the journal Neurology, found DBS helped improve motor function in patients who do not respond to conventional drugs used to treat the disorder. But the study also uncovered limits to the benefits of DBS, with many patients experiencing gradual declines in health-related quality of life and cognitive abilities.
Lead researcher Frances M. Weaver, with the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, had reported that motor functions remained stable for two years in DBS patients in a study published two years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine. The new analysis showed the benefits of DBS extend to 36 months.
DBS is used for Parkinson's patients who no longer benefit from medication, or who experience intolerable side effects from drugs. It is not a cure, and does not stop the disease’s progression. But it can significantly improve symptoms, including tremors and increase range of motion.
In the DBS procedure, a neurosurgeon drills a small hole into the skull and inserts an electrode about four inches into the brain, which delivers mild electrical signals that effectively reorganize the brain's electrical impulses.
For the new study, researchers evaluated the effects of DBS on about 160 patients and evaluated after 3, 6, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months. Patients were rated on a Parkinson's disease scale that includes motor functions such as speech, facial expression, tremors, rigidity, finger taps, hand movements, posture, gait and movement.
Researchers found DBS led to improvements in motor functions of the patients. But their ability to perform daily tasks declined, along with cognitive abilities, probably as a result of the progression of the disease, and the emergence of symptoms that are resistant to DBS and medications.


© HealthDay

   
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Deep brain stimulation with electrical impulses eases Parkinson's disease symptoms.
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Monday, 25 Jun 2012 12:38 PM
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