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By Steven Reinberg HealthDay Reporter MONDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The benefit of deep brain stimulation in controlling tremors and improving motor function for those with Parkinson's disease appears to last at least 10 years, according to a small new study by Canadian researchers. Parkinson's disease is one of several conditions called motor system disorders, which are caused by the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The main symptoms of Parkinson's disease are tremors or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowed movement; and impaired balance and coordination. As the disease progresses, patients can have difficulty walking, talking or doing other simple tasks, according to the U.S.
Deep brain stimulation ( DBS ) is a surgical treatment involving the implantation of a medical device called a brain pacemaker , which sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain . DBS in select brain regions has provided therapeutic benefits for otherwise treatment-resistant movement and affective disorders such as chronic pain , Parkinson's disease , tremor and dystonia . [ 1 ] Despite the long history of DBS, [ 2 ] its underlying principles and mechanisms are still not clear. DBS directly changes brain activity in a controlled manner, its effects are reversible (unlike those of lesioning techniques) and is one of only a few neurosurgical methods that allows blinded studies . The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved DBS as a treatment for essential tremor in 1997, for Parkinson's disease in 2002, [ 3 ] and dystonia in 2003. [ 4 ] DBS is also routinely used to treat chronic pain and has been used to treat various affective disorders, including major depression .