Deep brain stimulation procedures have been shown to reduce “tics,” or involuntary movements or outbursts, experienced by young adult individuals with Tourette’s syndrome, according to a new study.
Results from the study were published last Friday in the Journal of Neurosurgery.
Study researchers said the new data adds to a growing body which support DBS as a safe and effective treatment for severe cases of Tourette’s syndrome, according to a release, and may help support eventual FDA approval of the procedure.
“Our study shows that deep brain stimulation is a safe, effective treatment for young adults with severe Tourette syndrome that cannot be managed with current therapies. This treatment has the potential to improve the quality of life for patients who are debilitated through their teenage years and young adulthood,” Dr. Alon Mogilner of the NYU Langone Center for Neuromodulation said in a prepared statement.
In the deep brain stimulation procedure, physicians implant a neurostimulator, attached to 2 electrodes which are inserted into the medial thalamus, which functions abnormally in patients with Tourettes. The device emits electrical impulses into the the medial thalamus, which helps control symptoms of Tourettes.
The study followed 13 patients for 6-months post implant of the devices. Researchers recorded a 37% average decrease in the severity of tics on the 1st follow up, with an average decrease of 50% at 6 months.
All patients reported that symptoms had improved “much” or “very much” at 6-months, even those with less significant responses to the treatment, according to the study.
“The survey represents an important aspect of the study, because the YGTSS, though a validated scale, may not fully capture the impact of DBS on quality of life for a person with Tourette syndrome,” Dr. Michael Pourfar said in a press release.