Brain Stimulation May Help in Dystonia, Torticollis

Patients report improved quality of life; evaluation of videos shows improved scores

MONDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Deep brain stimulation may be beneficial for patients with secondary dystonia and primary torticollis, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Theresa E. Pretto, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues analyzed data from 13 consecutive patients with secondary dystonia or primary torticollis who received a deep brain stimulation implant in the globus pallidus internus. Subjects reported quality-of-life changes and a neurologist assessed preoperative and postoperative videotapes of subjects in a blinded fashion using four scales based on subjects' clinical signs.

The researchers found that seven subjects reported marked improvement and three reported moderate improvement. All group averages for the blinded video results showed improvement. Optimal programming of the implant required a mean 5.9 months, the report indicates.

"The global subjective gains and notable improvement in objective scores provide substantial support for using deep brain stimulation in this patient population that has remained refractory to best medical treatment. The downside of the procedure is the cost, from both a financial and time management perspective; however, all of our patients were pleased to have had the opportunity to undergo the deep brain stimulation procedure," the authors conclude. "Subjective outcome alone is not sufficient to justify deep brain stimulation surgery, but when combined with prospective blinded data, deep brain stimulation is a reasonable treatment for the control of secondary dystonia and torticollis."

Medtronic Neurological, Inc., provided support for this study.

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