In a nutshell
This study investigated the long-term effect of pallidal deep brain stimulation (pDBS) in the treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Researchers suggested that pDBS is associated with reduced movement symptoms in these patients.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic disease that affects brain cells. This causes symptoms such as tremors and muscle rigidity. It limits daily activities and reduces the quality of life of the patients. The standard treatment for this disease is levodopa. However, long-term levodopa use is associated with a high rate of side effects.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used to treat the symptoms of patients with PD, including levodopa side effects. DBS uses a small medical device, that is placed in the patient’s brain, to stimulate the cells through electrical impulses. Prior studies showed that pDBS (DBS performed in a specific area of the brain called the globus pallidus) is associated with improvements for up to 3, 4 or 6 years after the surgery. However, the long-term effects of pDBS are still not clear.
Methods & findings
This study included information about 18 patients with advanced PD who were treated with pDBS. Patients were followed-up before and 6 months after the surgery, and every year thereafter for up to 16 years. The main outcomes assessed were movement signs, activities of daily living and levodopa side effects.
PDBS improved movement symptoms, levodopa side effects, and activities of the daily life. Tremors showed the best response to pDBS. Depression was also improved by pDBS. Levodopa side effects and tremor showed improvements for more than 10 years after the brain surgery.
There were no complications during surgery. 7 patients showed issues with the implanted device and needed repeat surgery. However, no patients had permanent side effects from the procedure.
The bottom line
This study concluded that pDBS is associated with reduced PD symptoms and improved daily activities on the long-term.
The fine print
This study included a very small number of patients. Larger studies are needed for stronger evidence.
Published By :
Parkinsonism & related disorders
Mar 16, 2019
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