Electric brain stimulation can reduce problems patients with Parkinson disease develop after long-term use of levodopa, the main treatment for the disorder, researchers at Oregon Health and Science University report in the November 27 issue of Neurology. After years of use, levodopa becomes less effective, causing fluctuation—the "on/off" phenomenon—in Parkinson-associated motor symptoms such as tremor and poor balance.
The study examined 12 people who had had stimulating electrodes implanted for 1 to 3 years. The treatment uses a surgical implant similar to a cardiac pacemaker to block brain signals that cause tremor and other signs of the disease.
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