Photo by ML Cohen / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Craig van Horne and his team are testing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Plus, a treatment that shows promise in reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

DBS is a surgical procedure used to treat the problems associated with Parkinson’s disease. The procedure involves implanting electrodes into the brain that are connected to a small, pacemaker-like device implanted in the chest. These electrodes produce electrical signals that override the abnormal electrical impulses caused by the disease, which attacks and breaks down nerve cells in the brain.

The procedure isn’t suitable for everyone and requires thorough psychological testing and motion studies to ensure that a patient is ready for DBS. With DBS Plus, van Horne and his team are undertaking a new study to improve the treatment:

“Our study is designed to test whether taking a small part of peripheral nerve tissue and putting it in the brain would prompt healing in the areas of the central nervous system damaged by Parkinson’s,” Craig van Horne said.

To date, 34 patients have participated in the DBS Plus study with encouraging results.  Of the 17 patients that are 12 months out from their procedure, 65 percent of them have shown a clinically important improvement in motor performance as a result of the graft.

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