Brain Pacemaker Helps With Parkinsons, But With Risks

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Some new research offers the most hopeful news yet for people with Parkinson's disease.

The study was the biggest one that's ever been done on deep brain stimulation -- the use of electrodes implanted in the brain.

It found that Parkinson's sufferers who had those electrodes implanted showed substantially more improvement than those who took only medicine.

Researchers followed patients for six months. They found that the treatment reduced tremors, rigidity and flailing of the limbs. And it allowed people to move freely for nearly five extra hours a day.

But about 40 percent of the patients who received the "brain pacemakers" suffered serious side effects, including a surprising number of falls with injuries.

The findings appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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