Deep Brain Stimulation Improves Parkinson Disease in Older Adults

Parkinson's brain pacemaker
Parkinson’s brain pacemaker
There were long-term improvements in motor function in both elderly and young patients with Parkinson disease who were treated with deep brain stimulation.

Deep brain stimulation showed long-term benefits in both younger and older patients with Parkinson disease, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Researchers of this retrospective chart study analyzed data from 151 patients with Parkinson disease for postoperative effects of deep brain stimulation. Medical history, Hoehn and Yahr stage, motor score, and anti-Parkinson disease medications were evaluated at baseline and then again at follow-up evaluations.

The patients in the younger group (n=114) were under the age of 70, 74.56% were men, diagnosed at an average age of 50.71 years old, underwent surgery at an average age of 58.92 years old, and had an average follow-up time frame of 40.6 months. The patients in the older group (n=37) were ≥70 years, 64.86% were men, diagnosed at an average age of 63.05, underwent surgery at an average age of 72.45, and had an average follow-up time frame of 42.2 months. Both groups saw improvements in Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale Part III motor scores, levodopa-equivalent daily dose, and anti-Parkinson disease medications, with the elderly group seeing significant improvements in levodopa-equivalent daily dose (P =.0153) and anti-Parkinson disease medication doses per day (P =.0344) when compared with the younger group. The younger group experienced more adverse effects, including infections in 1.9% of patients, worsening of symptoms in 3.92%, and system complications in 2.64%, while the older group experienced 1 infection.

Related Articles

Future studies need to further evaluate deep brain stimulation as a viable treatment for older patients with Parkinson disease using a wider population range from diverse locations for longer follow-up time frames.

In conclusion, patients over the age of 70 saw comparable, if not better, improvements to motor function and required anti-Parkinson disease medications after treatment with deep brain stimulation when compared with patients under 70.


Hanna JA, Scullen T, Kahn L, et al. Comparison of elderly and young patient populations treated with deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease: long-term outcomes with up to 7 years of follow-up [published online September 28, 2018]. J Neurosurg. doi: 10.3171/2018.4.JNS171909