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Medtronic, Inc. (MDT)'s Brain Device Improves Early-Stage Parkinson's


2/14/2013 8:20:12 AM

Patients with early Parkinson’s disease who respond to drug therapy gain improvement in their symptoms and quality of life when they receive deep-brain stimulation from an implanted medical device, a study showed. Brain stimulation is now reserved for advanced Parkinson’s patients with severe complications and inconsistent response to drug treatment. The findings suggest patients at an earlier stage of the disease may do even better, reaping benefits before the progressive neurological illness has eroded their physical function, social activity and professional lives. The researchers tracked 251 patients with Parkinson’s for an average of 7.5 years after they were treated with drug therapy, or drugs plus deep-brain stimulation with Medtronic Inc.’s Kinetra or Soletra devices. Quality of life improved significantly for those getting both treatments, while it worsened slightly for those given only drugs, according to the study published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine. “The observed difference between the treatment groups is thus due to an improvement among patients receiving neurostimulation,” said the researchers led by Michael Schuepbach, from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie and Inserm in Paris. “As a main benefit from the patient’s perspective, activities of daily living were improved among patients with neurostimulation in the worst condition during the day.” Patients receiving brain stimulation also had a significantly greater improvement in being able to take care of themselves, their emotional well-being and cognition than reported in previous studies involving more severe patients, the researchers said. The stimulation didn’t improve mobility and was linked to additional side effects, including suicide.

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