, Volume 257, Issue 4, pp 603-608
Date: 18 Nov 2009

Transient gender-related effects in Parkinson’s disease patients with subthalamic stimulation

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Little is known about the gender-related long-term efficacy and safety after subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN DBS) implant for Parkinson’s disease (PD), although some differences could be expected as recently stated in a short-term report. We assessed the possible gender-related differences in clinical outcome and disease progression along a 5-year period after STN DBS for PD. A prospective cohort of PD patients who underwent STN DBS and reached the 5-year follow-up (FU) was considered. Clinical outcome, disease progression and side effects were assessed at baseline and 1, 3, and 5 years after surgery. Eleven men and nine women were included in the study. At baseline, no inter-gender difference of age at implant, disease duration and severity or levodopa responsiveness was detected. A higher motor responsiveness in men compared to women was detected only at 1-year FU: this difference was mainly related to worse lower limb akinesia and gait score in women. The difference was not confirmed at 3 and 5 years. Antiparkinsonian drugs reduction, improvement in motor fluctuations and dyskinesias, functional measures and progression of underlying PD, were comparable in both groups. Women had persistent adverse events comparable to men. The present long-term observation confirms the occurrence of slight gender-related differences in PD patients treated with STN DBS, indicating a transient poorer outcome in women. Further observational time and a wider number of patients are needed to better analyze the dimension of long-term gender-related differences.