"Current thought is that symptoms will worsen within hours or days of device shut-off, but these two young men continued to have clinical benefit despite interruption of DBS therapy for several months. To our knowledge, these two cases represent the longest duration of retained benefit in primary generalized dystonia. Moreover, when these patients' symptoms did return, severity was far milder than it was before DBS," said senior author Michele Tagliati, MD, director of the Movement Disorders Program at Cedars-Sinai's Department of Neurology.
Dystonia causes muscles to contract, with the affected body part twisting involuntarily and symptoms ranging from mild to crippling. If drugs – which often have undesirable side effects, especially at higher doses – fail to give relief, neurosurgeons and neurologists may work together to supplement medications with deep brain stimulation, aimed at modulating abnormal nerve signals. Electrical leads are implanted in the brain – one on each side – and an electrical pulse generator is placed near the collarbone. The device is then programmed with a remote, hand-held controller. Tagliati is an expert in device programming, which fine-tunes stimulation for individual patients.
Few studies have looked at the consequences of interrupted DBS therapy, although one found "fairly rapid worsening of dystonia in 14 patients after interruption of stimulation for 48 hours, with symptom severity at times becoming worse than the pre-operative baseline." In another study of 10 patients with generalized dystonia, however, symptoms did not return in four patients when stimulation was discontinued for 48 hours.
Findings from the 10-patient study correlate well with these two cases, Tagliati said.
"It appears that several factors – age, duration of disease, length of time the patient has received DBS treatment and stimulation parameters – determine which patients may retain symptom relief after prolonged DBS interruption. Our two patients were young, 20 years old. They both began DBS therapy a relatively short time after disease onset; one at four years and the other at seven years. One had received continuous stimulation for five years and the other for 18 months before stimulation was interrupted," Tagliati said.
"We can't say for certain why these factors make the difference," he added, "But we theorize that a younger brain with shorter exposure to the negative effects of dystonia may be more responsive to therapy and have greater 'plasticity' to adapt back to normal. Both of our patients received DBS therapy at a lower energy than most patients experience, suggesting the possibility that low-frequency stimulation over an extended time may help retrain the brain's low-frequency electrical activity."
Both instances of device shut-off were accidental and were discovered during doctor visits after mild symptoms returned. The patient who had undergone five years of DBS therapy had only one stimulator turned off for about three months; the one stimulating the left side of his brain remained active. In the other patient, the left device had been off for about seven months and the right one for two months, Tagliati said.
Tagliati was senior author of a 2011 Journal of Neurology article on a study showing that for patients suffering from dystonia, deep brain therapy tends to get better, quicker results when started earlier rather than later.
"We knew from earlier work that younger patients with shorter disease duration had better clinical outcomes in the short term. In our 2011 article, we reported that they fare best in the long term, as well. That study uniquely showed that age and disease duration play complementary roles in predicting long-term clinical outcomes. The good news for older patients is that while they may not see the rapid gains of younger patients, their symptoms may gradually improve over several years," Tagliati said.
Tagliati has received speaker honoraria from Medtronic, Inc., and consultation fees from St. Jude Medical, Inc., Abbott Laboratories and Impax Laboratories, Inc., unrelated to this study.
Citation: Movement Disorders: "Sustained Relief of Generalized Dystonia Despite Prolonged Interruption of Deep Brain Stimulation." Published online ahead of print Feb. 11, 2013.
Sandy Van | Cedars-Sinai News
Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery
17.02.2017 | Children's National Health System
Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers
17.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine
20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine