Compulsions, Parkinson's disease, and stimulation

Lancet. 2002 Oct 26;360(9342):1302-4. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(02)11339-0.


Pathophysiological models suggest that obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) might be associated with dysfunctions in cortico-striato-pallido-thalamo-cortical neuronal circuits. We implanted subthalamic electrodes to alleviate parkinsonian symptoms in two patients who had Parkinson's disease and a history of severe OCD. Parkinsonian disability improved postoperatively in both patients, and 2 weeks after the procedure, their compulsions had disappeared and obsessive symptoms improved (58% improvement for patient 1 on the Yale-Brown obsessive compulsive scale, 64% for patient 2). The improvements in these two patients suggest that high-frequency stimulation could improve function in the subcortical-limbic circuitry in patients with severe OCD.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / complications*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus