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

ars. There were three key clusters of patients whose medical records were analyzed:

  • Those younger than 27 and who had suffered from dystonia fewer than 17 years (17 patients)
  • Those older than 27 but who had suffered fewer than 17 years (eight patients)
  • Those older than 27 and who had suffered more than 17 years (19 patients)

Patients were evaluated on a standard dystonia rating scale at three intervals: after treatment began (baseline) and at one- and three-years. Specific results included:

  • Every patient experienced overall improvement in motor function their ability to control muscles and movements -- after surgery and device activation. All ratings of individual body regions or functions such as speech (sub-scores) improved significantly at one year. Further gains were seen at three years.
  • Three patients' overall outcomes declined, with mild worsening of some symptoms between years one and three.
  • Five more patients had some worse sub-scores at year three but continued to show overall improvement and did not return to their pre-treatment impairment levels.
  • Patients older than 27 at the time of surgery showed an additional 10 percent average improvement between years one and three of therapy.
  • Thirty-two patients were taking prescription drugs before surgery but this number declined by 52 percent at year one and 80 percent at year three.

The stimulation device consists of electrical leads implanted in the brain and an electrical pulse generator located near the collarbone. The stimulator is programmed with a remote, hand-held controller to modulate abnormal nerve signals that cause dystonia's uncontrolled muscle contractions.

Dystonia is less common than Parkinson's disease and has been more of a medical mystery, even among many movement disorders specialists. Proper surgical placement of the stimulation device and precise, individualized programming are criti
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Contact: Sandy Van
sandy@prpacific.com
808-526-1708
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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