Neurostimulation Helps Parkinson’s Patients
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – The shaking, trembling, and other motor problems Parkinson’s patients encounter can make it harder for these people to go on with their everyday lives, but a new study suggests that there may be a way to reduce these motor disabilities. Researchers found subthalamic stimulation can help Parkinson’s patients’ early motor complications, ultimately improving their quality of life.
Neurostimulation is used to treat motor problems associated with Parkinson’s disease and other disorders by sending electrical pulses to specific areas of the brain via a surgically implanted device. Researchers theorized that neurostimulation coupled with medical therapy would be able to help patients still in the earlier stages of Parkinson’s disease.
In the study, 251 Parkinson’s patients experiencing early motor complications underwent neurostimulation along with medical therapy or medical therapy alone for two years. Researchers then evaluated participants’ quality of life, motor disability, activities of daily living, levodopa-induced motor complications, and time with good mobility and no dyskinesia.
Parkinson’s patients who had neurostimulation as well as medical therapy demonstrated more improvement in all of the categories than those who only received medical therapy, especially their quality of life which improved by 7.8 points; the medical therapy only group’s quality of life worsened by 0.2 points.
Although neurostimulation did prove to help Parkinson’s patients, there were some complications with the neurostimulation device. A little over 17% of participants experienced serious adverse events that were related to either the surgical implantation of the device or the device itself.
However, adverse events also occurred in 44.1% of patients in the group that underwent medical therapy alone. So while there is a risk of complications when using neurostimulation, problems can still occur without the implanted device. Ultimately, it is for patients and their families to decide what option they are most comfortable with.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine, February 2013