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Health News

Woman is cured of Tourette's by electrodes in the brain

A woman suffering from Tourette's syndrome has said she is cured after having electrodes implanted in her brain as part of a trial.

Jayne Bargent said the treatment worked within an hour of the electrodes being switched on, six weeks after she underwent surgery to have them implanted and a pacemaker placed in her chest to provide the power. Until the experimental technique was tried this week, Ms Bargent couldn't read, drive or walk properly because of the constant convulsive twitches caused by the condition.

"It is absolutely amazing," she said. "This is going to give me my life back. I've had three years of gradually getting worse and they press a few little buttons and everything improves dramatically." She said the condition had been so debilitating that food would fall out of her mouth as she tried to eat.

The trial is being conducted by the UCL National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery where doctors believe the impulses from the electrodes dampen down disorganised and mistaken messages passing through the brain that cause the convulsions. The technique is already used for conditions such as Parkinson's.

Tom Foltynie, a consultant neurologist, said the speed of response to the treatment experienced by Ms Bargent was unusual: "We generally see effects over days rather than minutes."