Changes in cognitive-emotional and physiological symptoms of depression following STN-DBS for the treatment of Parkinson's disease

Eur J Neurol. 2012 Jan;19(1):121-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03447.x. Epub 2011 Jun 11.


Background and purpose: Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) has been shown to have beneficial effects on the motor features of Parkinson's disease (PD), but its impact on non-motor symptoms, most notably mood, has not been fully explored.

Methods: In the first study to independently compare the emotional-cognitive and somatic/physiological symptoms of depression, we examined mood differences in 17 bilateral STN-DBS and 22 matched non-surgical PD patients at baseline and 6 months.

Results: The STN-DBS group reported higher levels of depression at baseline with significant endorsement of physical symptomatology. Postoperatively, no significant between-group differences in physical symptoms of depression were found. In contrast, a significant group by time interaction for cognitive-emotional symptoms of depression was found, with the STN-DBS group reporting an increase in psychological symptoms of distress. The STN-DBS group also reported an increase in anxiety following surgery. The suicide rate of 5% found in our study is consistent with other postoperative studies in PD. The impact of changes in levodopa and psychotropic medication are also explored.

Conclusions: Preliminary results suggest that the motor improvement often observed in patients with PD following bilateral STN-DBS may be partially offset by an increase in affective-cognitive symptoms of depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / adverse effects*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*