The Parkinson's Appeal for Deep Brain Stimulation


The story of Deep Brain Stimulation is a fascinating example of the interplay between basic and clinical science as a two-way process. A chance clinical observation related to drug abuse led to the creation of a monkey model for Parkinson's disease and intensive investigation of this model led within four years to a practical approach in patients.

The first reports of Deep Brain Stimulation being used to treat Parkinson Disease at Professor Benabid's clinic were published in 1993 although the team had first performed the operation in 1987.

Today the treatment of Parkinson's Disease using Deep Brain Stimulation is used world-wide. Current estimates are that approximately 20,000 patients with movement disorders have been treated with Deep Brain Stimulation including dystonia, a much rarer disease than Parkinson's disease but one which can affect children.

The longest surviving patients have had stimulators in for over 8 years without untoward side-effects. In most patients batteries need to replaced every 5 years.

Despite its major impact on Parkinson's disease and other neurological conditions Deep Brain Stimulation treatment is only available in a limited number of centres in the UK . This is partly due to the high cost of the treatment, including the imaging equipment, stimulators and electrodes which are very expensive.

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