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Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2018;96(2):91-99. doi: 10.1159/000486643. Epub 2018 May 23.

Atlas-Independent, Electrophysiological Mapping of the Optimal Locus of Subthalamic Deep Brain Stimulation for the Motor Symptoms of Parkinson Disease.

Conrad EC1,2, Mossner JM1,2, Chou KL1,2,3, Patil PG1,2,3,4.

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Surgical Therapies Improving Movement Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) improves motor symptoms of Parkinson disease (PD). However, motor outcomes can be variable, perhaps due to inconsistent positioning of the active contact relative to an unknown optimal locus of stimulation. Here, we determine the optimal locus of STN stimulation in a geometrically unconstrained, mathematically precise, and atlas-independent manner, using Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) motor outcomes and an electrophysiological neuronal stimulation model.


In 20 patients with PD, we mapped motor improvement to active electrode location, relative to the individual, directly MRI-visualized STN. Our analysis included a novel, unconstrained and computational electrical-field model of neuronal activation to estimate the optimal locus of DBS.


We mapped the optimal locus to a tightly defined ovoid region 0.49 mm lateral, 0.88 mm posterior, and 2.63 mm dorsal to the anatomical midpoint of the STN. On average, this locus is 11.75 lateral, 1.84 mm posterior, and 1.08 mm ventral to the mid-commissural point.


Our novel, atlas-independent method reveals a single, ovoid optimal locus of stimulation in STN DBS for PD. The methodology, here applied to UPDRS and PD, is generalizable to atlas-independent mapping of other motor and non-motor effects of DBS.


Deep brain stimulation; Electrical field; Magnetic resonance imaging; Model; Parkinson disease; Subthalamic nucleus

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