Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain implant surgeries dramatically improve symptoms of debilitating condition

Date:
March 9, 2011
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
Implanting electrodes into a pea-sized part of the brain can dramatically improve life for people with severe cervical dystonia -- a rare but extremely debilitating condition that causes painful, twisting neck muscle spasms -- according to the results of a pilot study.

Implanting electrodes into a pea-sized part of the brain can dramatically improve life for people with severe cervical dystonia -- a rare but extremely debilitating condition that causes painful, twisting neck muscle spasms -- according to the results of a pilot study led by Jill Ostrem, MD and Philip Starr, MD PhD at the University of California, San Francisco.

Related Articles


Today, people with cervical dystonia can be treated with medications or injections of botulinum toxin (e.g., Botox), which interrupt signals from the brain that cause these spasms. However, those treatments do not provide adequate relief for all patients.

Over the last decade, doctors at UCSF and elsewhere have turned to a technique called deep brain stimulation to help people with debilitating dystonia. Also used to treat Parkinson's disease and the neurological disorder essential tremor, the technique is like putting a pacemaker inside a heart patient's chest -- except that deep brain stimulation requires a neurosurgeon to implant electrodes inside the brain.

Scientists are not sure exactly why deep brain stimulation works. The electrodes deliver electric current to tiny parts of the brain, likely altering abnormal brain circuitry and alleviating symptoms by overriding the signals coming from those parts of the brain.

Traditionally doctors have treated cervical dystonia with deep brain stimulation by targeting a brain nucleus known as the "globus pallidus internus." Reporting in the journal Neurology, the UCSF team described the results of the first detailed clinical study looking at deep brain stimulation targeting a completely different part of the brain: the "subthalamic nucleus."

"This target is very widely used for Parkinson's disease but not widely used for dystonia," said Starr, a professor of neurological surgery at UCSF and senior author of the paper.

The study, led by Ostrem, an associate professor of neurology at UCSF, involved nine patients followed for one year after surgery. "Patients in this study had failed medical treatments, but with the surgery, they were able to improve their movements and quality of life -- as well as overcome some of their disability and pain," said Ostrem.

Video analysis and standard measures of dystonia showed the surgeries lowered pain, reduced spasms and improved the overall quality of life without causing serious side effects.

The team is now planning to enroll more patients into a longer study following outcomes for three years post-surgery.

"Medications and botulinum toxin injections still remain the first line of treatment," Ostrem said, "but for those who are really still suffering, we think DBS using this new stimulation location offers another choice for them."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. L. Ostrem, C. A. Racine, G. A. Glass, J. K. Grace, M. M. Volz, S. L. Heath, P. A. Starr. Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation in primary cervical dystonia. Neurology, 2011; 76 (10): 870 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31820f2e4f

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Brain implant surgeries dramatically improve symptoms of debilitating condition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110308172958.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2011, March 9). Brain implant surgeries dramatically improve symptoms of debilitating condition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110308172958.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Brain implant surgeries dramatically improve symptoms of debilitating condition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110308172958.htm (accessed February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Scientists in Austria have been able to fit patients who&apos;ve lost the use of a hand with bionic prostheses the patients control with their minds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins