"Medication has effects on other symptoms, so if a patient is experiencing other symptoms besides motor problems that are better managed by medication, you may want to select the GPi -- where less reduction in medication is necessary," Weaver said.
Both STN and GPi deep brain stimulation are equally effective in improving motor symptoms in people with advanced Parkinson's disease, Weaver said.
"Serious adverse events are frequent for both targets, but are resolved through stimulation or medication adjustments, and other interventions, as needed," she added.
Dr. Michael Okun, national medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation, said that "this is an important study for Parkinson's disease patients and for their doctors as it opens the door for tailoring therapy and for tailoring brain targets for individual symptom profiles."
He added: "This two-year prospective randomized study showed that both STN and GPi were effective in treating the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and that there were subtle but potentially important differences between targets."
The first signs of Parkinson's are usually motor control problems such as shaking, rigidity, slowed movement and poor balance. In later stages, patients develop a variety of cognitive and mood problems, including depression, apathy, slowed thinking, confusion, impaired memory and trouble sleeping.
In early stages of the disease, motor symptoms can be controlled by medications such as L-dopa. But for patients with advanced Parkinson's, the drugs are less effective.
For more information on Parkinson's disease, visit the National Parkinson Foundation.
SOURCES: Frances Weaver, P
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