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Neurosci Lett. 2013 Sep 27;552:135-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.07.056. Epub 2013 Aug 11.

Deep brain stimulation improves movement amplitude but not hastening of repetitive finger movements.

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Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA; Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. Electronic address:


External pacing cues, dopaminergic medication, and bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) improve repetitive movements performed at low rates. When the pacing rate is increased to frequencies near 2 Hz and above, both external pacing cues and Parkinson's medication were shown to be ineffective at improving repetitive finger movement performance. It remains unclear if STN-DBS improves the performance of repetitive finger movements at high pacing rates. This study examined the effects of STN-DBS on the amplitude and rate of repetitive finger movement across a range of external pacing rates. Nine participants with STN-DBS (OFF and ON stimulation) and nine matched healthy adults performed repetitive index finger flexion movements paced by an acoustic tone that increased from 1.0 to 3.0 Hz. OFF stimulation, most subjects moved at rates that were substantially higher (hastening pattern) or lower (bradykinesia pattern) than the tone rate, particularly at high pacing rates. ON stimulation, movement rate improved in subjects with the bradykinesia pattern, but not in those with the hastening pattern. Overall, STN-DBS did not significantly affect movement rate. In contrast, STN-DBS significantly (p<0.05) improved movement amplitude across all pacing rates. These findings demonstrate that STN-DBS improves movement amplitude, but had no effect on the rate of movement in participants with a hastening pattern. Separately testing movement amplitude and movement rate using both high and low rate externally paced cues in the clinical environment may aid in the diagnosis and treatment of people with Parkinson's disease.


HOA; Movement amplitude; Movement rate; PD; Parkinson's disease; Repetitive finger movement; STN; STN-DBS; UPDRS; Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale; healthy older adult; subthalamic nucleus; subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation

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