Embedded adaptive deep brain stimulation for cervical dystonia controlled by motor cortex theta oscillations

Exp Neurol. 2021 Nov;345:113825. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2021.113825. Epub 2021 Jul 28.


Dystonia is a disabling movement disorder characterized by excessive muscle contraction for which the underlying pathophysiology is incompletely understood and treatment interventions limited in efficacy. Here we utilize a novel, sensing-enabled, deep brain stimulator device, implanted in a patient with cervical dystonia, to record local field potentials from chronically implanted electrodes in the sensorimotor cortex and subthalamic nuclei bilaterally. This rechargeable device was able to record large volumes of neural data at home, in the naturalistic environment, during unconstrained activity. We confirmed the presence of theta (3-7 Hz) oscillatory activity, which was coherent throughout the cortico-subthalamic circuit and specifically suppressed by high-frequency stimulation. Stimulation also reduced the duration, rate and height of theta bursts. These findings motivated a proof-of-principle trial of a new form of adaptive deep brain stimulation - triggered by theta-burst activity recorded from the motor cortex. This facilitated increased peak stimulation amplitudes without induction of dyskinesias and demonstrated improved blinded clinical ratings compared to continuous DBS, despite reduced total electrical energy delivered. These results further strengthen the pathophysiological role of low frequency (theta) oscillations in dystonia and demonstrate the potential for novel adaptive stimulation strategies linked to cortico-basal theta bursts.

Keywords: Basal ganglia; Deep brain stimulation; Dystonia; Physiology; Theta.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Implantable Neurostimulators*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Theta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Torticollis / physiopathology
  • Torticollis / surgery*