Unilateral Deep Brain Stimulation Significantly Improves Axial Essential Tremor

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Unilateral ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) deep brain stimulation (DBS) provides significant improvement in axial symptoms for severe Essential Temor (ET), according to a study released today at the 2nd Pan American Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Congress.

2nd Pan American Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Congress

The adverse effects associated with unilateral therapy are lower and in many patients, and unilateral treatments may be sufficient.

Unilateral ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) deep brain stimulation (DBS) provides significant improvement in axial symptoms for severe Essential Temor (ET), according to a study released today at the 2nd Pan American Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Congress.

Bilateral DBS currently is an effective treatment for ET, though patients often experience a high level of adverse effects. The study evaluated the effects of unilateral DBS on axial tremor (voice, head, face and trunk) in ET, and compared the efficacy and tolerability of unilateral versus bilateral DBS. One-hundred and fifteen patients with unilateral implants were analyzed. A second cohort of 39 patients then underwent a staged second sided implant after six months. Unilateral DBS improved head, voice, tongue, face and trunk tremor at 90 and 180 days compared to baseline. Bilateral stimulation showed improvement only in head and face tremor, and 32 of the 39 patients experienced additional stimulation and surgery related adverse effects after the second surgery.

Andres Lozano, Chairman of Neurosurgery at University of Toronto states, “While DBS is an effective treatment for essential tremor, bilateral treatments are often requested by patients but such procedures are associated with a high level of adverse effects. The challenge will be to offer bilateral treatment without incurring these adverse effects. This will require understanding the pathogenesis of speech, gait and other disturbances associated with bilateral procedures and developing novel strategies to avoid them while preserving therapeutic efficacy.” Lozano adds, “The adverse effects associated with unilateral therapy are lower and in many patients, and unilateral treatments may be sufficient.”

About the 2nd Pan American Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Congress:
Meeting attendees gather to learn about the latest research findings and relevant issues in the field of Movement Disorders specific to North, Central and South America. Over 600 physicians and medical professionals will be able to view over 250 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from the Pan American region and throughout the world. For more information about the PAS Congress, visit https://www.pascongress2018.org.

About the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society:
The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), an international society of over 7,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about MDS, visit https://www.movementdisorders.org.

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