In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of freezing of gait in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Researchers suggested that DBS improves the gait of these patients.
PD is a chronic disease associated with physical and mental symptoms. Each year, around 60,000 patients are diagnosed with the disease in the US. The disease affects brain cells which stop controlling body abilities. A common symptom of this is the freezing of gait. This results in an inability to start or continue walking, despite the intention to walk.
DBS consists of using electrical impulses to activate specific parts of the brain. It is a known safe treatment for PD. However, whether it also improves freezing of gait remains unknown.
Methods & findings
This study included information about 251 patients with PD. Of these, 124 underwent DBS and 127 underwent the best medical treatment (without DBS). Patients were followed-up after 24 months.
52% of patients from both groups had freezing of gait at the beginning of the study. This number decreased to 34% in the DBS group but did not change in the no-DBS group after 2 years.
The steps needed to complete the gait test decreased in the DBS group and increased in the non-DBS group. The axial (trunk) symptoms improved in the DBS group when compared to the non-DBS group. These symptoms are felt in the center of the body when the disease is moving from one side to the other.
The bottom line
This study concluded that DBS improves the freezing of gait and axial symptoms in Parkinson's disease.
The fine print
This study included a short follow-up period. Longer-term studies are necessary.
Published By :
Movement disorders: official journal of the Movement Disorder Society
Nov 22, 2019
If you sign up for Medivizor, you'll receive PERSONALIZED updates that are JUST FOR YOU. Want to give it a try?