Neurostimulation may help early Parkinson s disease patients

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Neurostimulation should likely be offered to patients with Parkinson s disease earlier than it is, a new study suggests. Neurostimulation is sometimes called deep brain stimulation. For Parkinson s patients, the process involves implanting tiny microelectrodes in the brain to deliver stimulation pulses to the tissue. Then, an electrical pulse generator (PG) generates stimulation pulses, which is connected to the electrodes via microwires.

This randomized, controlled trial found patients with early neurostimulation had a 26 percent increase in quality of life scores, compared to a 1 percent worsening in patients with standard therapy, according to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

G. Deusch, MD, of the University of Kiel in Germany, and colleagues, conducted the study on 251 Parkinson s patients with early motor complications over two years. The group that underwent the neurostimulation of the subthalamic nucleus had fewer complications such as motor disability.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross says Parkinson s is a severely debilitating disease, characterized by movement disorders leading to near-paralysis, and often dementia. This study group was much younger in their 50s then the general age of PD patients. Neurostimulation appears to have few risks. If you can help people have a better quality of life for even a few years, it seems to be a win-win proposition.