UF-led study of new DBS therapy shows positive results

In a study published in Lancet Neurology, UF researchers and researchers from 14 other institutions published positive results of a new form of deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy. The study, sponsored by St. Jude Medical Inc., used a new constant current device and patients were followed for 12 months.

Dr. Okun, Co-Director of the UF Center for Movement Disorders & Neurorestoration and first author on the paper, said in a UF Health News article about the research:

“I think it is safe to say since dopamine treatment emerged in the 1960s, DBS has been the single biggest symptomatic breakthrough for Parkinson patients who have experienced the fluctuations associated with levodopa therapy,” said Michael S. Okun, M.D., first author of the study, administrative director of the UF College of Medicine’s Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, and the National Medical Director for the National Parkinson Foundation. “This study validates the use of mild electrical currents delivered to specific brain structures in order to improve Parkinson’s disease in select patients with advanced symptoms, and additionally, it explored a new stimulation paradigm. Future improvements in devices and the delivery systems for DBS will hopefully provide exciting new opportunities for Parkinson’s sufferers.”

In the Gainesville Sun:

“It’s a very good device and it works well,” Okun said of the brain stimulator’s results on Parkinson’s patients. “But I think this study is the marker for the evolving state of technology. We’re going to see more and more improvements.”

Below is a video about the study results:

Read the abstract of the paper (and if you are a subscriber to Lancet Neurology, download the paper).