The recent article by Anderson et al1 and the accompanying editorial by Okun and Foote2 regarding pallidal vs subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson disease underscores the need for further research to establish the long-term benefits and potential risks of these treatment approaches. The Department of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program (Washington, DC), in collaboration with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (Bethesda, Md) and the DBS device manufacturer Medtronic (Minneapolis, Minn), has launched a multicenter, randomized trial of bilateral DBS of the globus pallidus vs subthalamic nucleus in persons with Parkinson disease. This landmark study involving 6 Department of Veterans Affairs Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers and their university affiliates is well under way; 232 patients are enrolled toward the final cohort of 316. All sites have recognized expertise with medical and surgical treatment of Parkinson disease, including experience with globus pallidus and subthalamic nucleus DBS implantation and microelectrode recording. An additional component of the study compares DBS with the best medical therapy.
Follett K, Weaver F, Stern M, Marks W, Hogarth P, Holloway K, Bronstein J, Duda J, Horn S, Lai E, Samii A. Multisite Randomized Trial of Deep Brain Stimulation. Arch Neurol. 2005;62(10):1643-1644. doi:10.1001/archneur.62.10.1643-b