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Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson Disease The 2014 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award

Maxime W. C. Rousseaux, PhD1,2; Huda Y. Zoghbi, MD1,2,3
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
2Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
3Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
JAMA Neurol. 2015;72(3):259-260. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.4109.
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The viewpoint reports on the 2014 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award honoring Mahlon R. DeLong, MD, and Alim-Louis Benabid, MD, PhD, for their development of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus for patients with advanced Parkinson disease.

This year’s Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award honors Mahlon R. DeLong, MD, at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and Alim-Louis Benabid, MD, PhD, at Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, for their development of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) for patients with advanced Parkinson disease (PD). This surgical technique reduces tremors and restores motor function in patients with PD and allows for lower doses of levodopa, thus reducing its toxic effects. This approach, both effective and reversible through a pacemaker switch, has culminated in the treatment of more than 100 000 patients and is likely the most significant advance in PD-based therapeutics since the discovery of levodopa more than 40 years ago.

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Figure.
Neural Circuits Affected in Parkinson Disease

Schematic depicting direct and indirect pathways of the basal ganglia thalamocortical circuit (A), the effect of its disruption in Parkinson disease via loss of substantia nigra pars compacta (SNC) cells (B), and the rectifying effect of inhibiting the subthalamic nucleus using deep brain stimulation (C). The blue arrows represent excitatory connections, and the orange block lines represent inhibitory connections. Line thickness represents strength of neural connectivity (with thicker lines representing stronger connectivity), and the dashed lines represent disruption of connectivity. GPe indicates external segment of the globus pallidus; GPi, internal segment of the globus pallidus; STN, subthalamic nucleus; and VL, ventrolateral (adapted from Bergman et al2 and Zoghbi3 and published with permission from Elsevier).

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