Research Update

Research Update: Deep brain stimulation may slow the progression of tremor if performed in early PD.

Recent results published in Neurology suggest that deep brain stimulation (DBS) may slow the progression of tremor if performed early on in the Parkinson’s disease (PD) course. This data, funded in part by APDA, implies that DBS may not just treat the symptoms of PD, but act to alter the course of the disease by slowing down the progression of tremor. The results are part of a study of 30 early-PD patients at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, who received either DBS plus optimal medical therapy, or optimal medical therapy alone, and have now been followed for about ten years.

An intriguing result that has emerged from this analysis is that rest tremor while off of all treatment was improved in the group that received DBS as compared to the group that did not. In addition, patients who had DBS were much less likely to have tremor move to previously unaffected limbs than patients who did not have DBS.

This Vanderbilt University group is collaborating with other DBS researchers to design a larger trial, of which APDA has been a proud sponsor and participant.

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