Deep Brain Stimulation May Slow Rest Tremor Progression in Parkinson Disease

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For this study patients with idiopathic Parkinson disease were randomly assigned to receive optimal drug therapy alone or in combination with subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation.
For this study patients with idiopathic Parkinson disease were randomly assigned to receive optimal drug therapy alone or in combination with subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation.

Tremor progression may be slowed when deep brain stimulation is used in early Parkinson disease, according to a study published in Neurology.

For this study patients with idiopathic Parkinson disease were randomly assigned to receive optimal drug therapy alone (n=14) or in combination with subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (n=14). Study participants underwent a week-long washout at baseline, and every 6 months of the two-year study period. All treatment adjustments were made through the patient's neurologist. A satisfaction survey was completed to gain insight into experiences, decisions, and reflections.

Rest tremors had minimal change in the group receiving deep brain stimulation and worsened in the control group. In addition, patients receiving deep brain stimulation in combination with drug therapy vs drug therapy alone  took less medication. The patient satisfaction survey revealed that tremor improvement was the most valuable aspect of the treatment.

The small patient size, the lack of biomarkers for Parkinson disease progression, and the likelihood of placebo effects are some this study's limitations. Further research is needed to further examine the potential slowing of rest tremor progression with deep brain stimulation. 

In conclusion, subthalmic nucleus deep brain stimulation may slow the progression of rest tremors in the early stages of Parkinson disease.

This study was partially supported by Medtronic, Inc. Please refer to reference for a complete list of authors' disclosures.

Reference

Hacker ML, DeLong MR, Turchan M, et al. Effects of deep brain stimulation on rest tremor progression in early stage Parkinson disease [published online June 29, 2018]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000005903

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