Here is some good news for neurosurgeons conducting brain implant surgeries. According to a latest study, investigators from the UCSF have recently conducted brain implant surgeries that produce improved symptoms of severe cervical dystonia. Though rare, this extremely debilitating condition seemingly causes painful, twisting neck muscle spasms.
Generally patients diagnosed with this condition may be subjected to medications or injections of botulinum toxin, commonly termed as Botox. These medications are assumed to interrupt signals from the brain which trigger these spasms, but fail to offer adequate relief for all patients. In this investigation, scientists employed a technique known as deep brain stimulation to help people with debilitating dystonia. The technique includes electrodes that have to be implanted inside the brain.
The electrodes are presumed to deliver electric current in tiny parts of the brain, likely to modify abnormal brain circuitry and alleviating symptoms by overriding the signals coming from those parts of the brain. The study followed nine patients for one year after surgery. Even though these patients failed medical treatments, the surgery was presumably able to enhance their movements and quality of life along with the ability to overcome some of their disability and pain. Jill Ostrem, MD at the University of California, San Francisco, lead investigator and colleagues are currently planning to examine outcomes of a larger number of patients for three years post-surgery.
It was mentioned that medications and botulinum toxin injections can possibly still remain the first line of treatment among severe cervical dystonia patients.