Motor and emotion processing depend on different fronto-basal ganglia circuits. Distinct sub-regions of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) may modulate these circuits. We evaluated whether stimulation targeted at separate territories in the STN region would differentially affect motor and emotion function. In a double-blind design, we studied twenty Parkinson's disease patients who had deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes implanted bilaterally in the STN. We stimulated either dorsal or ventral contacts of the STN electrodes on separate days in each patient and acquired behavioral measures. Dorsal contact stimulation improved motor function by reducing scores on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale and by reducing both reaction time and reaction time variability compared to ventral contact stimulation. By contrast, ventral contact stimulation led to an increase in positive emotion compared to dorsal contact stimulation. These results support the hypothesis that different territories within the STN region implement motor and emotion functions.
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