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J Neurosurg Sci. 2003 Mar;47(1):40-6.

Functional neuroimaging (PET and SPECT) in the selection and assessment of patients with Parkinson's disease undergoing deep brain stimulation.

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Department of Neurosciences, Parkinson's Disease, Centre Istituti Clinici di Perfezionamento, Milan, Italy.


Deep brain Stimulation (DBS) is an effective treatment for patients with advanced Parkinson's disease (PD) and motor complications who can no longer be improved by adjustment of medical therapy. Selection of surgery candidates and follow-up after surgery are critical for good outcome. Functional neuroimaging can help in the clinical assessment of these patients. We have used single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and the tracer ECD to measure regional cerebral blood flow before and 6 months after DBS of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in 20 patients with advanced PD. We found a significant increase in the anterior cingulate/supplementary motor cortex in the 12 good responders (change in off unified UPDRS >50%). Conversely, patients with poor response (n=8; change in off UPDRS-III <50% following DBS) revealed a significant worsening of cortical hypoperfusion particularly in the prefrontal areas. No flow decrements were detected in the basal ganglia and in the thalamus in both groups during DBS stimulation suggesting that DBS does not have a "lesion like" effect. If DBS stimulates and does not inactivate STN projection neurons, flow reduction in the poor responders may be secondary to increased inhibitory basal ganglia output.

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