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Surgeons explore new treatment for Tourette syndrome

NOTE: THIS RELEASE HAS BEEN UPDATED SINCE ITS ORIGINAL POSTING

CLEVELAND, April 1, 2004: A neurosurgical team at University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC) has, for the first time in North America, applied a new surgical approach to the treatment of Tourette syndrome, resulting in the immediate and nearly complete resolution of symptoms for the patient, who has suffered from this neurologic disorder since he was a child.

"We were genuinely amazed at the patient's response," says Robert J. Maciunas, MD, neurosurgeon at UHC and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He has used the technique called deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and tremor, and was impressed with this patient's dramatic reaction: the disappearance of the jerking motions, muscle tics and grunting associated with his Tourette's. "This technique holds great promise for patients suffering from this movement disorder, which often is diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence and can be completely debilitating."

Jeff Matovic, a Lyndhurst, Ohio, resident who grew up in Bay Village, was six years old when he was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by sudden, repetitive muscle movements (motor tics) and vocalizations (vocal tics). Though standard therapy with medication controlled his movements for much of his boyhood, his condition severely worsened with age.

"I had to drink with a sippy cup; otherwise, I would spill liquid all over and even break glass or plastic cups with the severity of the muscle spasms that were so forceful and unpredictable," says Jeff, now age 31. "To grow up being made fun of, always feeling different, and then, as an adult, unable to hold a job and support a family, I was feeling devastated by my Tourette's. I had heard about deep brain stimulation for other movement disorders. I knew that brain surgery was risky, and the doctors could not guar
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Contact: Eileen Korey
Eileen.Korey@uhhs.com
216-844-3825
University Hospitals of Cleveland
1-Apr-2004


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