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Brain implants 'switch off' Tourette's

Dec. 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- A British Tourette's syndrome sufferer has had her symptoms "switched off" in a revolutionary procedure involving brain implants, doctors said.

When surgeons placed two electrodes into Jayne Bargent's skull and turned on the current for 40 minutes, her symptoms of violent jerks instantly faded, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Her Tourette's symptoms had become so bad over several years she could not cook, drive, read or walk properly, the newspaper said.

Bargent is one of a dozen adults with severe Tourette's who will be fitted with similar implanted brain stimulators at Britain's National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

The technique, known as Deep Brain Stimulation, is already being used to treat some other neurological conditions including Parkinson's disease.

Doctors said they expect Bargent's condition to improve with continued stimulation of her brain.

"We generally see effects over days rather than minutes," Tom Foltynie, the neurologist leading the first clinical trial of the technique, said.

"There are changes that occur in the brain in response to continuous delivery of stimulation that get better day by day, week by week."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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