Research Insights

Standard guidelines for publication of deep brain stimulation studies in Parkinson’s disease

Vitek JL, Lyons KE, Bakay R, Benabid AL, Deuschl G, Hallett M, Kurlan R, Pancrazio JJ, Rezai A, Walter BL, Lang AE. Mov Disord. 2010 Jun 11. Standard guidelines for publication of deep brain stimulation studies in Parkinson’s disease ,

The purpose of this article was to provide standardized guidance for researchers and clinicians when creating and publishing studies that involve DBS.  One of the largest difficulties in current DBS research is that it is difficult to compare the strengths and weaknesses of studies as there is no consensus on how the treatment works, programming, surgical site, measures used to evaluate change, times to complete assessments, lead locations, length of time when measuring “off” or “on” DBS parameters, etc.  With studies having so many differences in how they complete the procedure and how outcomes were measured makes it difficult for the field to move forward on improving the technique in order to maximize efficacy. Notable suggestions by the group were for researchers to look at the typical PD motor issues but also to include evaluation of non-motor difficulties and issues related to quality of life.  They also recommended utilization of a multi-disciplinary team to evaluate participants pre and post stimulation as well as guidelines to reporting complications and adverse events.  The authors made a great point in the importance of reporting adverse events in studies not to be punitive to the authors or the study but so other researchers and clinicians can learn from each other in determining risks and efficacy of this procedure so that the individuals that undergo this procedure are fully informed in their decision to undergo this treatment.  Lastly, an easy to follow check list was provided in the article for those planning a study or preparing a manuscript for publication.

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