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Deep brain stimulation could help Parkinson's disease, study says

Deep brain stimulation could help Parkinson's disease, study says
27th June 2014

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) could be an effective way to lessen the symptoms in individuals who have Parkinson's disease. 

Scientists discovered this method of treatment could lower how many non-motor symptoms patients had, as well as how debilitating they were. 

These findings, which have been published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, could offer a new avenue of treatment for those with the neurological condition.

DBS of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) can be instrumental in allowing those with the condition to enjoy a better night's sleep, while it can also enhance mobility and reduce the requirement for dopamine replacement therapy. 

Dr Lisa Klingelhoefer, who is fellow at the National Parkinson Foundation International Centre of Excellence, said: "Non-motor features are common in Parkinson's disease patients, occur across all disease stages and, while well described, are still under-recognized when considering their huge impact on patients' quality of life."

However, additional research is needed to find out in greater detail how DBS works. This is particularly important because some instances of the treatment resulted in symptoms being exacerbated. 

In addition to this, while reports show that DBS of the STN improves mood disorders like depression, mania and anxiety, others have revealed it makes it worse, whereas some have recorded no difference. 

Parkinson's UK recently went to parliament to discuss DBS with ministers, following a separate trial that the charity had funded. These findings showed that for those for whom the treatment was suitable, it enhanced quality of life and mobility in individuals. Also, those who had it needed approximately one-third (34 per cent) less medication. 

The charity is calling upon the government to continue its financial backing of medical research like this and wants DBS to be available to a good standard across the whole country, instead of the postcode lottery that currently exists. 

It is believed one in 500 individuals in the UK currently have the condition, which equates to approximately 127,000 people in total.

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