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American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Journal of Neurosurgery, p. 1-9, 2020

DOI: 10.3171/2019.12.jns192654

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Short- and long-term cognitive effects of deep brain stimulation in the caudal zona incerta versus best medical treatment in patients with Parkinson’s disease

Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher
Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher

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Abstract

OBJECTIVEA growing number of studies are showing positive effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the caudal zona incerta (cZi) in various tremor disorders, as well as motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The focus of the present study was to evaluate short- and long-term cognitive effects of bilateral cZi DBS in patients with PD.METHODSTwenty-five nondemented patients with advanced PD were recruited to participate in a randomized trial of cZi DBS versus best medical treatment (BMT). The patients in the BMT group were offered surgery after 6 months. Neuropsychological evaluations focusing on assessing verbal and visuospatial memory, attention, and executive function were conducted at baseline and at 6 and 24 months after surgery. Self-reported measures of depression, anxiety, and change in “frontal” behaviors were also completed at all assessment points.RESULTSBilateral cZi DBS in patients with PD generated few adverse cognitive effects. At the short-term follow-up after 6 months, no differences were found between patients randomized to BMT and patients randomized to DBS with regard to most of the cognitive domains assessed. A transient improvement in anxiety was, however, found in the surgical group. At the long-term follow-up 24 months after cZi DBS, no major changes in global cognitive functioning were found, although a decline in attention and self-reported executive function was noted.CONCLUSIONSWith the exception of a decline in attention and self-reported executive function, bilateral cZi DBS for PD in appropriately screened patients appears to be generally safe with regard to cognitive function, both in the short- and long-term perspective.