The effects of subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) in Parkinson's disease (PD) on different language abilities are still controversial and its impact on high-level language abilities such as metaphor comprehension has been overlooked. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of STN electrical stimulation on metaphor comprehension and language abilities such as lexical and semantic capacities. Eight PD individuals with bilateral STN-DBS were first evaluated OFF-DBS and, at least seven weeks later, ON-DBS. Performance on metaphor comprehension, lexical decision, word association and verbal fluency tasks were compared ON and OFF-DBS in addition to motor symptoms evaluation. STN stimulation had a significant beneficial effect on motor symptoms in PD. However, this stimulation did not have any effect on metaphor comprehension or any other cognitive ability evaluated in this study. These outcomes suggest that STN stimulation may have dissociable effects on motor and language functions.
Keywords: Deep brain stimulation; Language; Metaphor comprehension; Parkinson’s disease.
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