DBS shows promise for Tourette patients in new UF-led registry

University of Florida neuroscientists are leading a multinational effort to track outcomes for patients with Tourette syndrome who undergo deep brain stimulation surgery, an established treatment for other movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease that’s now being tested as a potential means to decrease the motor and vocal tics of Tourette syndrome in certain patients.

Data collected thus far in a registry of a small international group of patients with uncontrolled Tourette syndrome show a link between deep brain stimulation, or DBS, and some symptom improvement as well as some adverse events, the neuroscientists report in today’s issue of JAMA Neurology. The results indicate an approximate 45 percent reduction in tics one year after the DBS device was implanted. Just over a third of the patients reported adverse events including dysarthria, which is a speech disorder caused by muscle weakness, and paresthesias, which is a burning or prickling in the arms or legs.