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Deep Brain Stimulation May Help in Tourette Syndrome

Last Updated: October 27, 2009.

Thalamic deep brain stimulation reduces tic severity in patients with severe and refractory Tourette syndrome, and also improves symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a study in the Oct. 27 issue of Neurology.

TUESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Thalamic deep brain stimulation reduces tic severity in patients with severe and refractory Tourette syndrome, and also improves symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a study in the Oct. 27 issue of Neurology.

Mauro Porta, M.D., of IRCCS Galeazzi in Milan, Italy, and colleagues conducted a study of 15 patients with severe and refractory Tourette syndrome who underwent bilateral thalamic deep brain stimulation and who underwent neuropsychiatric and neuropsychological assessments before and after surgery.

When the patients were assessed 24 months after surgery they showed a significant improvement in tic severity as well as a reduction in obsessive-compulsive, anxiety and depressive symptoms, and their perception of quality of life and social functioning also improved, the researchers found.

"Of importance is that the neuropsychiatric profiles are improved and the cognitive performances do not seem to be disadvantaged by deep brain stimulation. In addition, deep brain stimulation was acceptable to patients, particularly because they knew that it was reversible, except for acute surgical side effects and any microlesion effects," the authors write. "Further controlled studies on larger cohorts with blinded protocols are needed to verify the overall efficacy and safety of this procedure."

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