Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's Improves Motion and Mood, Reduces Medications

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Media Contact:Kim Menard | Kim.Menard@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-662-6183January 12, 2012

A new multi-center study, including neurologists and neurosurgeons from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, reveals that Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) – a treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients with medication-resistant muscle movement impairment or tremors – can improve those symptoms and reduce medications for patients implanted with the device. The study appears Online First in Lancet Neurology.

“The study answered some very important questions concerning cognition and mood with implantation alone, versus implantation with stimulation. We found that DBS surgery did not increase depressive symptoms, it actually led to an improvement in depression scores, and also led to improvements in motor ability and medication levels,” said Stacy Horn, DO, assistant professor of Clinical Neurology with Penn's Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, who led the clinical trial at Penn Medicine and co-authored the paper.

Gordon H. Baltuch, MD, PhD, a professor of Neurosurgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and study co-author, noted that “the group also dropped the infection rate to 4 percent from previously published 10 percent, which shows that, as a field, we are collectively improving the safety of this procedure and working in a collaborative fashion.”

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