Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease: disrupting the disruption

Lancet Neurol. 2002 Aug;1(4):225-31. doi: 10.1016/s1474-4422(02)00101-1.


Many people are disabled by Parkinson's disease (PD) despite the drug treatments that are currently available. For these patients, neurosurgery has the potential to help restore their function. The most effective neurosurgical procedures to date use electrical stimulation--deep brain stimulation (DBS)--of small targets in the brain by use of a pacemaker-like device to deliver constant stimulation. Although these operations can produce striking results, the mechanism by which delivery of electrical stimulation to targets deep in the brain can restore function in the motor system is not clear. This type of surgery probably works by interfering with and shutting down abnormal brain activity in areas where the current is delivered, such as the thalamus, globus pallidus, or the subthalamic nucleus. With this abnormal neuronal activity neutralised, motor areas of the brain can resume their function and normal movements are reinstated. Current research is aimed at elucidating how DBS works and using this information to develop better treatments for patients with PD and other neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Rats