Neurostimulation against Parkinson’s disease

It is possible for several years to improve the symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s disease by stimulating deep brain area. This surgical procedure is not available to all patients. Benefits, indications, techniques … Doctissimo an update.

This method is now practiced in over twenty centers in France and concern 300 new patients each year.
Neurostimulation: a beautiful story.
Neurostimulation is a beautiful scientific history, which began with experimental work. The researchers knew that the injury sub-thalamic nucleus (particular area of the brain) improves Parkinson’s symptoms in monkeys. But to go from this observation to the development of neurostimulation, it took two innovations, as recalled Prof. Agid the Salpêtrière (Paris), at the 7th International Forum on Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson's  disease

“Researchers from Bordeaux showed that poses an electrode supplied with electric current in the brain of an animal used to suppress parkinsonian symptoms caused. These results were immediately taken by the team of Prof. Benabib and Pollak in Grenoble , who has applied to the brain of the patient.’s great trick was to use a pacemaker to transform the transient effect in permanent effect on the deep brain structures. ”

This revolutionary technique used for the first time in 1993 by Professor Alim Louis Benabid (Neurosurgeon, CHU de Grenoble) helped relieve so far 3000 patients in France. Following this procedure half of the patients had significantly reduced his medication and a quarter have done without entirely.

Principle of brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation is exercised by an “electric” effect to correct the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It involves surgically implanting two electrodes on either side of the skull to stimulate the subthalamic nuclei responsible for movement disorders and muscle stiffness. This may take ten or more hours, time to put under the clavicle housing stimulus that the patient used to trigger the electric pulse (> 80 Hz) and stop the tremors.

During the procedure, the surgeon asks the patient anesthetized but conscious to perform certain actions, such as an object or tighten up his hands to verify the success of the procedure. After a week of hospitalization during which the patient continues to medication, the stimulator is activated.

If tremors immediately disappear in some patients, it usually takes about 3 months for the electrical conduction stabilizes after a few adjustments by the neurologist. In addition, this technique has the great advantage of being reversible and adaptable.