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Parkinson's treatment shows positive results in clinical testing
Date:1/11/2012

Researchers from the University of Florida and 14 additional medical centers reported results today in the online version of The Lancet Neurology journal indicating that deep brain stimulation also known as DBS is effective at improving motor symptoms and quality of life in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease.

The study, sponsored by St. Jude Medical Inc., tested the safety and effectiveness of a constant current DBS device developed by St. Jude Medical to manage the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The device aimed to reduce tremors, improve the slowness of movement, decrease the motor disability of the disease and reduce involuntary movements called dyskinesia, which are a common side effect of Parkinson's drugs.

After treatment, analysis of 136 patient diaries revealed longer periods of effective symptom control known as "on time" without involuntary movements. "On time" for patients who received stimulation increased by an average of 4.27 hours compared with an increase of 1.77 hours in the group without stimulation. Patients also noted overall improvements in the quality of their daily activities, mobility, emotional state, social support and physical comfort.

"I think it is safe to say since dopamine treatment emerged in the 1960s, DBS has been the single biggest symptomatic breakthrough for Parkinson patients who have experienced the fluctuations associated with levodopa therapy," said Michael S. Okun, M.D., first author of the study, administrative director of the UF College of Medicine's Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, and the National Medical Director for the National Parkinson Foundation. "This study validates the use of mild electrical currents delivered to specific brain structures in order to improve Parkinson's disease in select patients with advanced symptoms, and additionally, it explored a new stimulation paradigm. Future improvements in devices and the delivery systems for DBS
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Contact: John Pastor
jdpastor@ufl.edu
352-273-5815
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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