Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Study on Deep Brain Stimulation finds big improvement and some risk

Here is the essence of a new study on DBS just released:

ScienceDaily (Jan. 6, 2009) — Patients with advanced Parkinson disease (PD) who received deep brain stimulation treatment had more improvement in movement skills and quality of life after six months than patients who received other medical therapy, but also had a higher risk of a serious adverse events, according to a new study. (To read the entire story, look here)

This was brought to my attention by Roberta Greenberg, who is part of a DBS team in Southern California. I want to share a comment from her about the results:

"What a stunning statistic….71% improvement in motor symptoms and QOL for DBS patients vs. 32% for medical therapy patients. Those of us on the DBS side have been trying to tell the medical community this for the past decade, but have had no verifiable, quantifiable data to back up these claims….just our anecdotal observations of our own patient populations. But now….the data has arrived. WooHoo!!

The risk profile in the study is much higher than what I’ve seen. I think that’s probably because the study started in 2002 and surgical techniques were much more crude then. In my experience, the incidence of infection, bleeds, etc has been less than 2%. I think that’s the norm now. We’re so much better at it now than we were back in 2002/2003. The dark ages of DBS. I wish they had chronologically compared complications in the study…but like I said, I’m grateful that they finally got the darn thing published!"

One unmentioned benefit: After the procedure, friends will call you "Cyber Boy".

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