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Neuroreport. 2002 Aug 7;13(11):1383-6.

Expectation modulates the response to subthalamic nucleus stimulation in Parkinsonian patients.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin Medical School, Corso Rafaello 30, 10125 Turin; Italy.


Expectations about future events are known to trigger neural mechanisms that affect both perception and action. Here we report that different and opposite expectations of bad and good motor performance modulate the therapeutic effects of subthalamic nucleus stimulation in Parkinsonian patients who had undergone chronic implantation of electrodes for deep brain stimulation. By analyzing the effects of subthalamic stimulation on the velocity of movement of the right hand, we found hand movement to be faster when the patients expected a good motor performance. The expectation of good performance was induced through a placebo-like procedure, thus indicating that placebo-induced expectations have influence on the treatment outcome. All these effects occurred within minutes, suggesting that expectations induce neural changes very quickly.

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