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Over one million people suffer from the debilitating brain degeneration of Parkinson’s disease in the US. But now, a new study reveals some added benefits for people who receive a newer type of deep brain stimulation to treat the symptoms of advanced Parkinson’s disease.
University of Florida researchers say patients who received a DBS device that delivers a constant current to control the shaking, shuffling, and other effects of the disabling condition, experience longer periods of “on-time,” a time when symptoms of the disease are completely or mostly controlled. Researchers say patients experienced additional hours of “on-time” compared to a group that didn’t have the implanted DBS device delivering the electrical impulses.
Dr. Michael Okun/Neurologist: “So for a select group of patients, 10 to 20 percent of patients who have Parkinson’s disease, this really provides a tremendous improvement in their quality of life.”
Deep brain stimulation has become the most important symptomatic advancement in treating Parkinson’s disease since the drug dopamine was introduced more than 30 years ago. Researchers say the study results will help advance future DBS treatment technologies.
Dr. Michael Okun/Neurologist: “One of the most important parts of this study is that it is going to move the field past the hardware that has been deployed and so the field will now begin to take the results of a well done perspective randomized study on constant current and say okay now it is time to start moving towards this improvement, but this improvement will lead to the next improvement.”
Parkinson’s most often develops in people after the age of 50 and there is no cure for the disease.