Identifying patients with Tourette syndrome likely to benefit from DBS

Doctor Michael Okun
Dr. Michael Okun

By Eli Golde

For a subset of patients with Tourette syndrome, deep brain stimulation, or DBS, can be beneficial, and its use for the treatment of tics has been expanding worldwide.

A new review co-authored by Michael Okun, M.D., UF neurology chair and executive director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health, details a multidisciplinary, five-pillar screening process for identifying candidates likely to benefit from the surgical procedure.

The paper, published in the journal Neurology, details the following five pillars to guide patient selection: tic severity; quality of life; treatment refractoriness, or ineffectiveness of non-invasive treatments; behavioral comorbidities; and age.

“Adopting this systematic approach while advancing consensus on uncertain clinical aspects relevant to decision-making will allow clinicians and researchers from different regions to pool cases together, refine our understanding of effectiveness and safety of DBS in TS, inform new clinical trials, consolidate an operational framework that will diminish heterogeneity of clinical practice, and potentially facilitate the ‘upgrade’ of this therapeutic modality from rarely used and ‘experimental’ to ‘established’ in routine clinical practice with appropriate guidelines,” the authors write.

The new review was produced by a Tourette Association of America study group on the topic. UF Health is a Tourette Association of America Center of Excellence.

Read the paper in the journal Neurology.