Despite advances in symptomatic treatment options the pathomechanism of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) remains poorly understood. Animal studies from recent years suggest pathological information processing in the basal ganglia network to be responsible for major movement deficits observed in patients, which, according to the information lesion hypothesis, might also explain the mechanism of action of deep brain stimulation (DBS). Using novel measures from information theory we characterize the information content, storage and transfer of intraoperatively recorded local field potentials (LFP) from the subthalamic area of n = 19 PD patients undergoing surgery for implantation of electrodes for deep brain stimulation. In agreement with recent animal studies we demonstrate a significant positive correlation of subthalamic information content and movement deficits (ρ > 0.48). Analysis of information storage reveals a larger processing memory in the zona incerta (ZI) than in the subthalamic nucleus (STN). We discuss possible implications for the efficiency of high frequency DBS. Further, we estimate the information transfer between forearm muscles and ZI/STN. Here, we show that the bidirectional information flow with respect to the STN is larger compared to the ZI. In contrast to the STN, however, the bidirectional information flow in the ZI is modulated, namely increased, by movement. The results of our study may help to understand the mechanism of action of deep brain stimulation and further explain recent studies claiming efficiency of ZI stimulation for certain motor symptoms.
Keywords: Entropy; Information; Local field potentials; Parkinson’s disease; Subthalamic nucleus (STN); Zona incerta (ZI).
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