Deep Brain Stimulation Slows Motor Progression in Parkinson’s Disease

Those treated with DBS had a 50% lower risk of worsening motor symptoms compared to those on drug therapy alone.

CHICAGO — Results from a pilot study indicate that deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s patients may help reduce the risk of worsening motor symptoms compared to standard medical therapy. The findings from the Deep Brain Stimulation in Early Parkinson’s Disease Pilot were presented at the American Neurological Association 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago.

In a post hoc analysis, Mallory L. Hacker, PhD, of Vanderbilt University, and colleagues assessed the risk of worsening of both motor outcomes and complications of medical therapy in Parkinson’s patients who underwent deep brain stimulation.

Thirty subjects with early Parkinson’s disease were randomized to either deep brain stimulation plus medication or optimal drug therapy, and subsequently treated for 24 months. Clinically-important worsening was measured as a ≥3 point increase in motor symptoms (UPDRS Part III On) and a ≥1 point increase in complications of medical therapy (UPDRS Part IV).

Of those in the optimal drug therapy group, 53% experienced a clinically-important worsening after two years, compared to 27% in the deep brain stimulation/medication group. Overall, risk of worsening was 50% less in the deep brain stimulation/medication group compared to the optimal drug therapy group (RR=0.50, 95% CI: 0.19-1.32; P=0.25).

Regarding the positive results, the researchers pointed out that the FDA has now approved a multi-center, pivotal trial to test the use of deep brain stimulation in early Parkinson’s disease.


  1. Hacker ML et al. Abstract S423. Presented at: American Neurological Association Annual Meeting 2015. September 27-29, 2015; Chicago.