NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Brain implant brings hope to thousands of Parkinson's sufferers

Wednesday February 20, 2013

A new form of brain surgery could conceivably bring hope to thousands of Parkinson's sufferers. A two-year trial has proven that deep brain stimulation using an electrical implant is more effective than drugs, and at a much earlier stage in the disea

Catholic Online - There was a 26 percent improvement in the quality of life for patients after surgery, compared with no improvement with those strictly on medication.

Tests showed that coordination improved by 50 percent. Activities such as speech, handwriting, dressing and walking were also improved by 30 percent for those having the operation. Respondents also took less medication and had fewer drug-related complications; those on drugs alone had to increase the dose.

The latest trial involving 251 patients in France and Germany gave deep brain stimulation to people who had suffered Parkinson's for around seven years. Trials had successfully tested the procedure on patients with advanced disease, after 12 years.

"These results signal a shift in the way patients with Parkinson's disease can be treated." Professor of Neurology at Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel Gunther Deushcl, and lead investigator of the study for Germany, said.

"They prove that deep brain stimulation therapy can improve patients' quality of life even in the earlier stages of Parkinson's disease, when clinicians traditionally rely solely on drugs," Deushcl added.

Patients having deep brain stimulation are fitted with a neuro-stimulator, a device similar to a heart pacemaker, which is connected to electrodes placed in certain parts of the brain. The electrical implant is then connected to a small battery under the skin in the person's chest or abdomen to generate small electrical signals to stimulate the brain.

The device is controlled by a hand-held device which can be switched on and off. When switched on, the patient benefits from the blocking of abnormal nerve signals which trigger the symptoms associated with Parkinson's.

About 10,000 people are newly diagnosed with Parkinson's each year, and 125,000 are living with the disease at any time. Most are over 60 years of age, but a significant number afflicted are young.

Described as a progressive neurological condition that causes symptoms of tremor and muscular rigidity or stiffness that can make walking, talking and even writing difficult or frustrating. While there is no cure for Parkinson's, there are a range of treatments help control symptoms.

Recent News

Sep 4 - Asthma May Influence Risk of Parkinson's Disease
Sep 4 - Researchers Explore Memory Problems Related to Parkinson's
Sep 3 - Press Release: ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Submits New Drug Application for NUPLAZID™ for the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis
Aug 28 - Brain cells 'burn out' in Parkinson's disease
Aug 24 - Study Details Process Involved in Parkinson’s Disease
Aug 24 - Google Reveals Gigantic Ambitions To Fight Cancer, Diabetes, Parkinson's, Heart Problems
Aug 20 - Two proteins work together to help cells eliminate trash; Parkinson's may result
Aug 17 - Scientists visualize critical part of basal ganglia pathways
Aug 17 - VA benefits office seeks all vets exposed to Agent Orange
Aug 12 - New, rapid dementia screening tool rivals 'gold standard' clinical evaluations
Aug 11 - Strolling in Seaside, fighting Parkinson's
Aug 11 - Scientists probing molecular origins of Parkinson's disease highlight two proteins
Aug 11 - Could Chocolate Help To Ease Parkinson’s Disease?
Aug 10 - Take 2: Why Seattle should try to replicate Spokane’s 3-on-3 Hoopfest success
Aug 10 - Book Review: A voyage into Parkinson’s disease, led by patient and journalist
Aug 10 - Parkinson's could be slowed with existing drug
Aug 7 - Opinion: Why modern life is making dementia in your 40s more likely
Aug 6 - Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis: My Husband’s Frightening Symptom
Aug 3 - Software Turns Smartphones into Tools for Medical Research
Jul 31 - Innovative Technology Using Dragonflies Might Offer Insights Into Human Brain Function