Decline of verbal fluency with lateral superior frontal gyrus penetration in subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation for Parkinson disease

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery and
  • | 2 Department of Psychiatry—Neuropsychology Section, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
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OBJECTIVE

Verbal fluency (VF) decline is a well-recognized adverse cognitive outcome following subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN DBS) in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). The mechanisms underlying VF decline, whether from stimulation, lesioning, or both, remain unclear. This study aims to investigate the unique effects of DBS lead trajectory on VF beyond previously reported effects of active contact location.

METHODS

The study population included 56 patients with idiopathic PD who underwent bilateral STN DBS. Phonemic and semantic VF scores were compared pre- and postoperatively. Features of the electrode trajectory were measured on postoperative imaging, including distance from the falx cerebri, distance from the superior frontal sulcus, and caudate nucleus penetration. The authors used t-tests, Pearson’s correlation, and multiple linear regression analyses to examine the relationship between VF change and demographic, disease, and electrode trajectory variables.

RESULTS

The laterality of entry within the left superior frontal gyrus (SFG) predicted greater phonemic VF decline (sr2 = 0.28, p < 0.001) after controlling for active contact location. VF change did not differ by the presence of caudate nucleus penetration in either hemisphere (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Lateral penetration of the SFG in the left hemisphere is associated with worsening phonemic VF and has greater explanatory power than active contact location. This may be explained by lesioning of the lateral SFG–Broca area pathway, which is implicated in language function.

ABBREVIATIONS

BA = Brodmann area; DBS = deep brain stimulation; MDS-UPDRS = Movement Disorder Society revision of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale; PD = Parkinson disease; SFG = superior frontal gyrus; STN = subthalamic nucleus; VF = verbal fluency.

Schematics of transseptal interforniceal resection of a superiorly recessed colloid cyst. ©Mark Souweidane, published with permission. See the article by Tosi et al. (pp 813–819).

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