China’s Study on Deep Brain Stimulation Shows Long Term Promise for Tardive Dystonia

Bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been known to help with symptoms of dystonia. But for a form of tardive dyskinesia known as tardive dystonia, DBS hasn’t been studied as thoroughly.
Tardive dyskinesia is a disorder causing involuntary movements around the face. Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions, which can be painful and as it progresses, it can cause disability. Tardive dystonia occurs when the involuntary contractions are slow and writhing.

Dystonia can cause many difficulties both long-term and short, often impeding patient’s ability to work, socialize, and engage in hobbies. Additionally, it can create emotional and psychological challenges. To learn more about dystonia, click here. To learn more about tardive dyskinesia, click here.

Bo-min Sun, MD, led a research team in Shanghai, China that used bilateral DBS in the treatment of 10 patients with tardive dystonia, whose conditions were previously resistant to other medications. In short, results showed that patients had a significantly improved quality of life, not only immediately after treatment, but as long-term as the study ran; up to 8.75 years. Similarly, anxiety also decreased among patients.

These results are promising for those patients who have had little or no success with traditional treatments for tardive dystonia. To read the study in Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, click here. To read a run-down of the study in MD Mag, click here.

Jessica Gladwell

Jessica Gladwell

Jessica Gladwell is one of PW's consultants and patient editors. She has lived with late-stage, chronic Lyme and POTS since circa 2002. She has also served as a caregiver to close family members with late-stage, chronic Lyme. Before diagnosis, she served as a business consultant for a large corporation and PM for a small digital branding agency. Now, she is proactive in the rare and neurological disease community, spreading awareness and advising on matters of health and lifestyle when living with a chronic illness.

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