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Brain surgery 'could reduce Parkinson's symptoms'

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New research published by charity Parkinson’s UK has shown the quality of life for someone with Parkinson’s disease could be improved by brain surgery.

A study noted patients were taking fewer drugs and showed improvement after undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS).

The results of the study mean NHS costs could potentially be reduced, the charity said.

Dr Kieran Breen, director of research and development at Parkinson’s UK, said: “If somebody is eligible for surgery they should be given surgery.”

The trial involved 366 patients who were split into two groups. One group underwent DBS surgery, while patients in the other group were just given medication.

It found those who were fitted with a neurostimulator - a device similar to a heart pacemaker which stimulates some areas of the brain and blocks abnormal nerve signals - were more likely to have improved than those who were just given the most appropriate drugs available.

A year after surgery, participants’ motor function had improved, their symptoms had reduced and they needed around a third (34%) less medication to control their symptoms than those who did not have the surgery.

The trial’s findings were published in medical journal The Lancet Neurology.

Dr Breen said further analysis is now being carried out to look at how the £30,000 cost of the operation and follow-ups compares with the reduced costs of drugs.

“The amount you save in medication actually pays for itself in two to three years,” he estimated.

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