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Deep-Brain Stimulation Studied in Dystonia

Treatment significantly improves scores on the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with primary generalized or segmental dystonia, bilateral pallidal deep-brain stimulation is more effective than sham stimulation, according to a study published in the Nov. 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Andreas Kupsch, M.D., of Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany, and colleagues randomly assigned 40 patients with an implanted device for deep-brain stimulation to receive either three months of neurostimulation or sham stimulation.

The researchers found that the neurostimulation group had a significantly greater change from baseline in mean movement scores on the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale than the sham-stimulation group (−15.8 points versus −1.4 points). They also identified 22 adverse events in 19 patients. The most common adverse event was dysarthria, but complications also included four infections at the stimulator site and one lead dislodgment.

"The clinical significance of the benefits of neurostimulation that we observed were greater than was the effect of high-dosage trihexyphenidyl, the most potent drug for the treatment of dystonia," the authors write.

The study was supported by a grant from Medtronic.

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