Deep brain stimulation to raise Parkinson’s patients’ life expectancy

Researchers at the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration hospital in the U.S. have apparently detected that people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, having received deep brain stimulation (DBS) through an implanted device, would have an extended life span as compared to those treated with only medicines. Earlier studies had revealed that DBS helps in enhancing the motor functions in the affected patients. As per medical experts, dyskinesia in the patients is reduced considerably as a result of deep brain stimulation treatment, post which subjects are able to do the things that they could not have done otherwise.

Neurologists are of the view that medicines can control the disease symptoms such as slow movement, tremors, & walking problems, but are unable to increase the rate of survival in patients. But, the studies have unleashed that deep brain stimulation therapy can moderately increase the life expectancy in people suffering from the disorder. A research study was conducted on 1222 veterans (having an average age of nearly 69 years) suffering from Parkinson’s disease during 2007 to 2013. It was found that 611 persons from among these 1222 patients treated with DBS survived 6.3 years, while the rest of the 611 patients who did not receive the DBS therapy survived for 5.7 years.

It has also been found that deep brain stimulation treatment can improve the quality of life in the patients. Researchers have also witnessed that DBS therapy helps in effectively controlling the Parkinson’s disease symptoms such as limb rigidity and tremors in the patients. However, it was found that the persons under the study mainly comprised male patients. Hence medical experts have concluded that the findings derived from the research study may not be applicable to the female patient population. Considering the limitation of the study, it has been speculated that further research is required to witness the impact of DBS treatment on brain functions & neuroplasticity of the patients.