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Brain. 2010 Dec;133(Pt 12):3611-24. doi: 10.1093/brain/awq239. Epub 2010 Sep 22.

Subthalamic nucleus stimulation influences expression and suppression of impulsive behaviour in Parkinson's disease.

Author information

  • 1Neurology Department, University of Virginia Health Systems, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA. saw6n@virginia.edu

Abstract

Past studies show beneficial as well as detrimental effects of subthalamic nucleus deep-brain stimulation on impulsive behaviour. We address this paradox by investigating individuals with Parkinson's disease treated with subthalamic nucleus stimulation (n = 17) and healthy controls without Parkinson's disease (n = 17) on performance in a Simon task. In this reaction time task, conflict between premature response impulses and goal-directed action selection is manipulated. We applied distributional analytic methods to separate the strength of the initial response impulse from the proficiency of inhibitory control engaged subsequently to suppress the impulse. Patients with Parkinson's disease were tested when stimulation was either turned on or off. Mean conflict interference effects did not differ between controls and patients, or within patients when stimulation was on versus off. In contrast, distributional analyses revealed two dissociable effects of subthalamic nucleus stimulation. Fast response errors indicated that stimulation increased impulsive, premature responding in high conflict situations. Later in the reaction process, however, stimulation improved the proficiency with which inhibitory control was engaged to suppress these impulses selectively, thereby facilitating selection of the correct action. This temporal dissociation supports a conceptual framework for resolving past paradoxical findings and further highlights that dynamic aspects of impulse and inhibitory control underlying goal-directed behaviour rely in part on neural circuitry inclusive of the subthalamic nucleus.

PMID:
20861152
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2995881
Free PMC Article

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