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Brain. 2015 Jul;138(Pt 7):1833-42. doi: 10.1093/brain/awv095. Epub 2015 Apr 21.

Visual-spatial memory may be enhanced with theta burst deep brain stimulation of the fornix: a preliminary investigation with four cases.

Author information

1
1 Neurological Institute, University Hospitals Case Medical Centre, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 2 Department of Neurological Surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA Jonathan.Miller@UHHospitals.org.
2
1 Neurological Institute, University Hospitals Case Medical Centre, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 2 Department of Neurological Surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
3
1 Neurological Institute, University Hospitals Case Medical Centre, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 3 Department of Neurology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Abstract

Memory loss after brain injury can be a source of considerable morbidity, but there are presently few therapeutic options for restoring memory function. We have previously demonstrated that burst stimulation of the fornix is able to significantly improve memory in a rodent model of traumatic brain injury. The present study is a preliminary investigation with a small group of cases to explore whether theta burst stimulation of the fornix might improve memory in humans. Four individuals undergoing stereo-electroencephalography evaluation for drug-resistant epilepsy were enrolled. All participants were implanted with an electrode into the proximal fornix and dorsal hippocampal commissure on the language dominant (n = 3) or language non-dominant (n = 1) side, and stimulation of this electrode reliably produced a diffuse evoked potential in the head and body of the ipsilateral hippocampus. Each participant underwent testing of verbal memory (Rey Auditory-Verbal Learning Test), visual-spatial memory (Medical College of Georgia Complex Figure Test), and visual confrontational naming (Boston Naming Test Short Form) once per day over at least two consecutive days using novel test forms each day. For 50% of the trials, the fornix electrode was continuously stimulated using a burst pattern (200 Hz in 100 ms trains, five trains per second, 100 ┬Ás, 7 mA) and was compared with sham stimulation. Participants and examiners were blinded to whether stimulation was active or not, and the order of stimulation was randomized. The small sample size precluded use of inferential statistics; therefore, data were analysed using descriptive statistics and graphic analysis. Burst stimulation of the fornix was not perceived by any of the participants but was associated with a robust reversible improvement in immediate and delayed performance on the Medical College of Georgia Complex Figure Test. There were no apparent differences on either Rey Auditory-Verbal Learning Test or Boston Naming Test. There was no apparent relationship between performance and side of stimulation (language dominant or non-dominant). There were no complications. Preliminary evidence in this small sample of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy suggests that theta burst stimulation of the fornix may be associated with improvement in visual-spatial memory.

KEYWORDS:

deep brain stimulation; memory; theta burst stimulation

PMID:
26106097
DOI:
10.1093/brain/awv095
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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