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Deep Brain Stimulation Helps Those With Advanced Parkinson's
Date:1/6/2009

Study found both physical function and quality of life improved

TUESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The largest study of its kind finds that deep brain stimulation improves both physical function and quality of life after six months in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) performed better than currently available drug treatments, but it did carry some risks, including one death, according to a study in the Jan. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"This basically corroborates what has largely emerged over the last decade from literature and clinical experience showing pretty dramatically the potential benefit of DBS for Parkinson's," said Dr. Fred Marshall, medical director of the deep brain stimulation program at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in New York.

Despite abundant clinical experience, there have been few controlled trials on the topic, added colleague Dr. Irene Richard, an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "This is corroborative, that surgery is helpful, but it is associated with more risk."

Deep brain stimulation, approved for Parkinson's by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002, is relatively widely used in patients with advanced Parkinson's who are no longer being helped by drugs.

"First-line medication works quite well for some window of time, occasionally one's whole life, but typically, a patient takes more and more medications more often. Their life is ruled by medication to maintain a decent function," said study co-author Dr. William J. Marks Jr., an associate professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of the San Francisco VA Parkinson's Disease Research, Education & Clinical Center.

Marks has served as a consultant to Medtronic, the manufacturer of the DBS device, as have other members
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