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Deep brain stimulation (DBS) entails implanting electrodes within certain areas of the brain. The electrical impulses these electrodes produce can regulate abnormal impulses or can affect certain chemicals and cells within the brain.

DBS can be used to treat conditions including Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, epilepsy and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The device is also being studied as a potential way to treat Tourette’s syndrome, Huntingdon’s disease, chronic pain and cluster headaches.

A pacemaker device is implanted under the skin of the patient’s upper chest; a wire that travels beneath the skin connects this device to the electrodes that have been placed in the brain.

DBS is used to treat those whose symptoms can’t be managed with medication.

New Trials at North Bristol NHS Trust

Although regulatory approval is in place for the use of deep brain stimulation around the world, take-up by those with Parkinson’s disease currently stands at only about 5%. In part, this is due to the complexity and cost of the surgery required to implant a DBS device.

Trials of a new miniaturised DBS device are being carried out at North Bristol NHS Trust. For those working in the field of neurological disorders, such as Professor Marios Politis, it is hoped that this device will help to shorten and simplify surgery for DBS. As a result, this could see the procedure being made available to more patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Up to 25 patients taking part in the trial will undergo surgery to have the new device implanted, and each will be assessed over the course of a year. Take a look at the embedded PDF for more details about this new DBS device.

The Benefits of DBS for Parkinson’s Sufferers

Although DBS doesn’t slow or halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease, it has given many sufferers better control of their motor symptoms, which include the speed of movements, involuntary movements and tremors. It is believed that the new DBS device will improve patient satisfaction and could also see a reduction in the need for revision surgery to repair fractured wires.

It is hoped that the results from the trial of the new DBS device will help to improve Parkinson’s care worldwide.