Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

In Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy, a small pacemaker-like device sends electronic signals to an area in the brain that controls movement. These signals block some of the brain messages that cause disabling motor symptoms. In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of DBS to treat essential tremor.  Approval for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (2002) and dystonia (2003) soon followed.

Although DBS does not cure either Parkinson's disease or dystonia, it can help manage some of its symptoms and subsequently improve the patient’s quality of life. While DBS is most effective in DYT1 patients, there is increased interest in the role of DBS in patients with secondary dystonia. A new collaborative research study to be undertaken in 2015 among the four Bachmann-Strauss Foundation’s Centers of Excellence will be the largest of its kind to assess responsiveness of dystonia patients to DBS.