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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2014 December;58(4):191-8


lingua: Inglese

Deep brain stimulation: new directions

Ostergard T., Miller J. P.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA


The role of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of movement disorders is well established, but there has recently been a proliferation of additional indications that have been shown to be amenable to this technology. The combination of innovative approaches to neural interface technology with novel target identification based on previously discovered clinical effects of lesioning procedures has led to a fundamental paradigm for new directions in the application of DBS. The historical use of neurosurgical lesioning procedures in the treatment of psychiatric diseases such as obsessive compulsive disorder provided an initial opportunity to expand the use of DBS. The list is rapidly expanding and now includes major depressive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, addiction disorders, and eating disorders. Keen observations by neurosurgeons using these devices have lead to the incidental discovery of treatments for diseases without previous neurosurgical treatments. These discoveries are breaking new ground in the treatment of disorders of cognition, headache syndromes, disorders of consciousness, and epilepsy. Two features of DBS make it well-suited for treatment of disorders of nervous system function. First, the reversible, non-lesional nature of DBS allows for investigation of new targets without the morbidity of permanent side effects. Second, the programmable nature of DBS allows practitioners to alter stimulation patterns to minimize side effects and potentially improve efficacy through reprogramming. More importantly, proper scientific evaluation of new targets is aided by the ability to turn stimulation on and off with evaluators blinded to the stimulation status. Knowledge of these emerging therapies is important for practitioners, as there are many situations where a single target can effectively treat the symptoms of more than one disease. The intersection of advances in neuromodulation, neurophysiology, neuroimaging, and functional neuroanatomy has created an environment rife with new therapeutic possibilities.

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