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Cerebellar deep brain stimulation for the treatment of movement disorders in cerebral palsy

Iahn Cajigas, Melanie A. Morrison, Marta San Luciano, and Philip A. Starr

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral palsy (CP) represents the most common childhood physical disability that encompasses disorders of movement and posture attributed to nonprogressive disturbances that occurred in the developmental fetal or infant brain. Dyskinetic CP (DCP), the second most common type of CP after spastic forms, refers to a subset of patients in whom dystonia and choreoathetosis are the predominant motor manifestations. Most children with CP have abnormal brain MRI studies indicative of cortical and deep gray matter damage consistent with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which may preclude or suggest decreased efficacy of standard deep brain stimulation (DBS) targets. The cerebellum has been posited as an attractive target for treatment of DCP because it is frequently spared from hypoxic ischemic damage and has shown promise in alleviating patient symptoms both in early work in the 1970s and in more recent case series with DBS.

METHODS

The authors performed bilateral cerebellar DBS implantation, targeting the dentate nucleus (DN) and cerebellar outflow pathway, in 3 patients with DCP. Leads were connected to a pulse generator that senses local field potentials during chronic continuous DBS. The authors report their surgical methods, examples of chronic cerebellar local field potential recordings, and preliminary clinical outcomes. Motor outcomes were assessed using the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale.

RESULTS

Three patients 14–22 years old with DCP and MRI evidence of structural damage to the basal ganglia were offered cerebellar stimulation targeting the DN. All patients tolerated the procedure well and demonstrated improvement in subjective motor function as well as objective improvement in the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale movement subscale, although the range of responses was variable (19%–40%). Patients experienced subjective improvement in motor function including ease of hand movements and coordination, gait, head control, speech, decreased overflow, and diminished muscle tightness.

CONCLUSIONS

DBS of the dentate nuclei in patients with DCP appears to be safe and shows preliminary evidence of clinical benefit. New chronic sensing technology may allow for determination of in vivo mechanisms of network disruption in DCP and allow for further understanding of the effects of neuromodulation on brain physiology. Larger studies with long-term follow up will be required to further elucidate the clinical benefits of this therapy. This report addresses a gap in the literature regarding the technical approach to image-based stereotactic targeting and chronic neural recording in the DN.

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Clinical profiles and outcomes of deep brain stimulation in G2019S LRRK2 Parkinson disease

Katherine Leaver, Aaron Viser, Brian H. Kopell, Roberto A. Ortega, Joan Miravite, Michael S. Okun, Sonya Elango, Deborah Raymond, Susan B. Bressman, Rachel Saunders-Pullman, and Marta San Luciano

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate clinical features and response to deep brain stimulation (DBS) in G2019S LRRK2-Parkinson disease (LRRK2-PD) and idiopathic PD (IPD).

METHODS

The authors conducted a clinic-based cohort study of PD patients recruited from the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Genetics database of PD studies. The cohort included 87 participants with LRRK2-PD (13 who underwent DBS) and 14 DBS participants with IPD enrolled between 2009 and 2017. The baseline clinical features, including motor ratings and levodopa-equivalent daily dose (LEDD), were compared among LRRK2-PD patients with and without DBS, between LRRK2-PD with DBS and IPD with DBS, and between LRRK2-PD with subthalamic nucleus (STN) and internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi) DBS. Longitudinal motor scores (Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale–part III) and medication usage were also assessed pre- and postoperatively.

RESULTS

Compared to LRRK2-PD without DBS (n = 74), the LRRK2-PD with DBS cohort (n = 13) had a significantly younger age of onset, longer disease duration, were more likely to have dyskinesia, and were less likely to experience hand tremor at disease onset. LRRK2-PD participants were also more likely to be referred for surgery because of severe dyskinesia (11/13 [85%] vs 6/14 [43%], p = 0.04) and were less likely to be referred for medically refractory tremor (0/13 [0%] vs 6/14 [43%], p = 0.02) than were IPD patients. Among LRRK2-PD patients, both STN-DBS and GPi-DBS targets were effective, although the sample size was small for both groups. There were no revisions or adverse effects reported in the GPi-DBS group, while 2 of the LRRK2-PD participants who underwent STN-DBS required revisions and a third reported depression as a stimulation-related side effect. Medication reduction favored the STN group.

CONCLUSIONS

The LRRK2-PD cohort referred for DBS had a slightly different profile, including earlier age of onset and dyskinesia. Both the STN and GPi DBS targets were effective in symptom suppression. Patients with G2019S LRRK2 PD were well-suited for DBS therapy and had favorable motor outcomes regardless of the DBS target. LRRK2-DBS patients had longer disease durations and tended to have more dyskinesia. Dyskinesia commonly served as the trigger for DBS surgical candidacy. Medication-refractory tremor was not a common indication for surgery in the LRRK2 cohort.