Effects of bilateral subthalamic stimulation on cognitive function in Parkinson disease

Arch Neurol. 2001 Aug;58(8):1223-7. doi: 10.1001/archneur.58.8.1223.


Background: Chronic bilateral subthalamic deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) is known to improve motor function in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). However, the possible effects of STN-DBS on neuropsychological functions have been studied less.

Objective: To investigate the effects of STN-DBS on neuropsychological functions in PD.

Design: Before-after trial.

Patients and methods: Fifteen consecutive patients were assessed before and 3 months after implantation of stimulators for STN-DBS (postsurgical assessment with the stimulators switched on). Both assessments were performed with patients in a drug-free condition. The neuropsychological battery consisted of tests measuring memory and visuospatial and frontal functions.

Results: The comparison between presurgical and postsurgical performance showed a moderate deterioration in verbal memory and prefrontal and visuospatial functions, and a moderate improvement in a prefrontal task and obsessive-compulsive traits. The motor state improved in all patients.

Conclusion: Therapy with STN-DBS improves motor symptoms in PD without any clinically relevant neuropsychological deterioration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / surgery*