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Study reports a reduction of motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease who were implanted with a deep brain stimulation device.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure where a small battery powered device called an implantable pulse generator is implanted into the area of the brain controlling movement. The device sends electrical stimulation into these areas of the brain, thereby inhibiting the abnormal signalling of the brain that causes the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as tremor, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movement.

A study conducted in six European countries has evaluated the implantable Vercise DBS system, for stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, in the treatment of moderate-severe Parkinson’s disease. Forty participants aged 21-75 years old who had Parkinson’s disease for 5 years or more, with at least two motor symptoms were included in the study.

Improvements in motor function were noted at 6 months following the procedure. Participants also experienced improvements in daily activities and quality of life. The amount of anti-parkinsonian drugs that were taken by the participants also decreased, with 3 participants who stopped taking the drugs completely by week 12. Overall, 90% of patients reported an improvement in symptoms at 52 weeks after the procedure.

The most common side effects noted in the study were dystonia (muscle spasms), speech disorder, and apathy. There were 18 cases of more serious side effects, including infection, migration of the device, and respiratory problems.

Boston scientific corporation is currently conducting a clinical trial using their Vercise DBS system for Parkinson’s disease. They are compiling a registry of patients using the Vercise DBS system, in order to compile world-wide data of outcomes in treating Parkinsons’ disease. They will assess both improvement in motor symptoms and quality of life.


Timmermann, L, Jain, R, Chen, L, Maarouf, M, Barbe, MT, Allert, N, Brücke, T, Kaiser, I, Beirer, S, Sejio, F, Suarez, E, Lozano, B, Haegelen, C, Vérin, M, Porta, M, Servello, D, Gill, S, Whone, A, Van Dyck, N, Alesch, F. “Multiple-source current steering in subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease (the VANTAGE study): a non-randomised, prospective, multicentre, open-label study” The Lancet Neurology Volume 14, No. 7, p693–701, July 2015.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke “NINDS Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease Information Page” Available from: Last Accessed July 9, 2015. “Registry of Deep Brain Stimulation With the VERCISE™ System: Vercise DBS Registry” Available from: Last Accessed: July 9, 2015.

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Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD

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