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Deep Brain Stimulation May Offer Lasting Benefits for Parkinson’s Disease

Study: Patients Continue to See Improvement in Tremors 10 Years After Surgery

What Patients Can Expect

Experts who were not involved in the research say it echoes the kinds of results they’ve seen in their own patients.

“I personally have been following patients of my own for 12 or 13 years, and I’ve been seeing similar things” says Alon Mogilner, MD, PhD, chief of functional and restorative neurosurgery at Cushing Neuroscience Institutes at The North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y.

“What I always tell patients is, ‘whatever symptoms it treats within the first year or so it will continue to treat,’” Mogilner says. "'You may need adjustments over time, and you may develop other symptoms that the DBS [deep brain stimulation] can’t treat,'" he says.

Other experts agreed.

“There are certain things it will treat dramatically, like the tremors. It will also help slowness and stiffness, and we’re able to reduce medications significantly,” says Michael Rezak, MD, PhD, director of the Movement Disorders Center at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Ill.

Reducing medications, he says, can also help reduce some of the worst side effects, including sleepiness, confusion, and hallucinations.

“It does a great job when medicines will not do such a great job anymore,” Rezak says. “It’s got a time and a place. It will open the window of benefit for patients for their symptoms, but it’s not going to be a cure.”

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