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For potentially crippling dystonia, earlier deep brain therapy gets better, quicker results
Date:3/29/2011

LOS ANGELES (March 29, 2011) Patients suffering from dystonia, an uncommon yet potentially crippling movement disorder, get better results if they begin deep brain stimulation therapy sooner rather than later, according to an international study published in the March issue of the Journal of Neurology.

"Our data suggest that patients who begin treatment earlier in the disease process may expect a better general outcome than those with longer disease duration. Also, age at surgery appears to influence the time necessary to achieve the best clinical response, meaning that older patients need more time before reaching their potential benefit," said Michele Tagliati, M.D., director of the Movement Disorders Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the article's senior author.

Dystonia causes muscles to contract, with the affected body part twisting involuntarily and symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The Food and Drug Administration approved deep brain stimulation as a therapy for certain treatment-resistant dystonias in 2003 after approving it for essential tremor in 1997 and Parkinson's disease in 2002. The procedure recently was approved on a limited basis for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

"We knew from earlier work that younger patients with shorter disease duration had better clinical outcomes in the short term. Now we know they fare best in the long term, as well. Our study uniquely showed that age and disease duration play complementary roles in predicting long-term clinical outcomes. The good news for older patients is that while they may not see the rapid gains of younger patients, their symptoms may gradually improve over several years," said Tagliati, who is considered one of the world's top experts on the therapy.

The study involved 44 patients with generalized dystonia ranging in age from 10 to 59 years, with a midpoint of 31 years. Disease duration ranged from two to 42 years, with a midpoint of 15 ye
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Contact: Sandy Van
sandy@prpacific.com
808-526-1708
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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