Navigation Links
Brain implant surgeries at UCSF dramatically improve symptoms of debilitating condition

Implanting electrodes into a pea-sized part of the brain can dramatically improve life for people with severe cervical dystonia a rare but extremely debilitating condition that causes painful, twisting neck muscle spasms according to the results of a pilot study led by Jill Ostrem, MD and Philip Starr, MD PhD at the University of California, San Francisco.

Today, people with cervical dystonia can be treated with medications or injections of botulinum toxin (e.g., Botox), which interrupt signals from the brain that cause these spasms. However, those treatments do not provide adequate relief for all patients.

Over the last decade, doctors at UCSF and elsewhere have turned to a technique called deep brain stimulation to help people with debilitating dystonia. Also used to treat Parkinson's disease and the neurological disorder essential tremor, the technique is like putting a pacemaker inside a heart patient's chest except that deep brain stimulation requires a neurosurgeon to implant electrodes inside the brain.

Scientists are not sure exactly why deep brain stimulation works. The electrodes deliver electric current to tiny parts of the brain, likely altering abnormal brain circuitry and alleviating symptoms by overriding the signals coming from those parts of the brain.

Traditionally doctors have treated cervical dystonia with deep brain stimulation by targeting a brain nucleus known as the "globus pallidus internus." Reporting this week in the journal Neurology, the UCSF team described the results of the first detailed clinical study looking at deep brain stimulation targeting a completely different part of the brain: the "subthalamic nucleus."

"This target is very widely used for Parkinson's disease but not widely used for dystonia," said Starr, a professor of neurological surgery at UCSF and senior author of the paper.

The study, led by Ostrem, an associate professor of neurology at UCSF, involved nine patients followed for one year after surgery. "Patients in this study had failed medical treatments, but with the surgery, they were able to improve their movements and quality of life as well as overcome some of their disability and pain," said Ostrem.

Video analysis and standard measures of dystonia showed the surgeries lowered pain, reduced spasms and improved the overall quality of life without causing serious side effects.

The team is now planning to enroll more patients into a longer study following outcomes for three years post-surgery.

"Medications and botulinum toxin injections still remain the first line of treatment," Ostrem said, "but for those who are really still suffering, we think DBS using this new stimulation location offers another choice for them."


Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
University of California - San Francisco

Related medicine news :

1. Gadgets not related to teenagers brain pain
2. Dementia Rates Escalate as Brain Capacity Diminishes with Age
3. Researchers discover new way to kill pediatric brain tumors
4. Scientists Pinpoint Area of Brain That Fears Losing Money
5. Physical Changes in Brain Linked to Altered Spirituality
6. Pro Athletes Brains React at Olympic Speed
7. Neuroscientists reveal new links that regulate brain electrical activity
8. Brain Scan Shows What Beauty is Worth
9. Study supports alternative anti-seizure medication following acute brain injury
10. Exercise helps protect brain of multiple sclerosis patients
11. Pittsburgh Neurosurgeons Explore Use of Drug that Illuminates Brain Tumor Cells To Guide Surgery
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... “While riding the bus, I ... Bronx, N.Y. “I thought there had to be a convenient and comfortable way to ... The PROTECTOR enables disabled individuals to safely travel during cold or inclement weather. In ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... (PHA) announces the nation’s Periwinkle Pioneers, individuals and groups responsible for advancing care ... disease. The Periwinkle Pioneers, nominated by the public, will receive special recognition throughout ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... philanthropic seniors, is resulting in a way for homeless people to have a ... have launched a new initiative whereby they are repurposing plastic bags into sleeping ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Since its launch in 2012, ... adult stem cell therapies to patients with chronic degenerative medical conditions. Now, the ... Registered Trademark (RTM). , Organizations are required to hold a registered trademark in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Genesis Chiropractic Software ... software creates an agreement between the practice owner and the patient that automatically ... notification, and projections. Click here to learn more. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... FRANCISCO , Nov. 24, 2015  Thanks to ... Dignity Health St. Mary,s Medical Center,s Sister Diane Grassilli ... breast imaging capabilities in San Francisco ... an anonymous friend, stepped forward with a gift of ... for Breast Digital Mammography with Tomosynthesis and Whole Breast ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Colo. , Nov. 24, 2015  Array ... that its Chief Executive Officer, Ron Squarer ... Healthcare Conference in New York.  The public is ... webcast on the Array BioPharma website.Event:Piper Jaffray Annual ... , Wednesday, December 2, 2015Time:1:30 p.m. Eastern Time ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HOUSTON, TX and VANCOUVER, Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... EPI; NASDAQ: EPIX ) announced today that the ... clinical study of EPI-506 as a treatment for metastatic ... States and Canada.  --> ... --> In the Phase 1/2 clinical trial, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: