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Neuroimage. 2011 Jan;54 Suppl 1:S238-46. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.03.068. Epub 2010 Mar 31.

Patient-specific analysis of the relationship between the volume of tissue activated during DBS and verbal fluency.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, McKnight Brain Institute, Gainesville, FL, USA.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease involves implantation of a lead with four small contacts usually within the subthalamic nucleus (STN) or globus pallidus internus (GPi). While generally safe from a cognitive standpoint, STN DBS has been commonly associated with a decrease in the speeded production of words, a skill referred to as verbal fluency. Virtually all studies comparing presurgical to postsurgical verbal fluency performance have detected a decrease with DBS. The decline may be attributable in part to the surgical procedures, yet the relative contributions of stimulation effects are not known. In the present study, we used patient-specific DBS computer models to investigate the effects of stimulation on verbal fluency performance. Specifically, we investigated relationships of the volume and locus of activated STN tissue to verbal fluency outcome. Stimulation of different electrode contacts within the STN did not affect total verbal fluency scores. However, models of activation revealed subtle relationships between the locus and volume of activated tissue and verbal fluency performance. At ventral contacts, more tissue activation inside the STN was associated with decreased letter fluency performance. At optimal contacts, more tissue activation within the STN was associated with improved letter fluency performance. These findings suggest subtle effects of stimulation on verbal fluency performance, consistent with the functional nonmotor subregions/somatotopy of the STN.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


DBS; cognition; microlesion; mood; verbal fluency

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