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Brain stimulation offers hope to Parkinson's patients - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Brain stimulation offers hope to Parkinson's patients

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

A new study shows brain stimulation may benefit early stage Parkinson's disease.

The surgical procedure implants wires through the skull and into the brain. The electrically charged wires stimulate different parts of the brain and help control a patient's stiffness, slowness and tremors. It's typically done on patients who find traditional medications no longer work. But now, a new study shows the therapy is effective for new patients, too.

Neurologists at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington say it depends on the patient.

"It's not common right now. Really, it depends. It's very individualized-- the care of Parkinson's, so if we have an individual who is functioning well, but not quite well enough for what their daily requirements are-- you have someone who is young, he's had Parkinson's from an early age, they remain in the workforce, they may be the primary provider for their family. One might be much more aggressive about either giving them medications or consider early surgery," said Jim Boyd, a neurologist at Fletcher Allen.

Boyd says the surgery could become the standard of care for early stage Parkinson's, but more study is needed. The study was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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