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Deep brain stimulation for Gilles de la Tourette syndrome in children and youth: a meta-analysis with individual participant data

Marie-Andrée Coulombe, Lior M. Elkaim, Naif M. Alotaibi, Daniel A. Gorman, Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, Suneil K. Kalia, Nir Lipsman, Andres M. Lozano, and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics. Although by definition the onset of GTS is before age 18 years, clinical trials of deep brain stimulation (DBS) have been conducted only in adults. Using individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis methodology, the current study investigated the safety and efficacy of DBS as a treatment for GTS in children and youth.

METHODS

A systematic review with no date or language restrictions was performed according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement. Three electronic databases were searched: PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science. From 843 articles screened, the IPD of 58 children and youth (ages 12–21 years) extracted from 21 articles were collected and analyzed. A mixed-effects univariable analysis followed by multivariable hierarchical regression was performed using change in the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) score as the primary outcome and reported measures of comorbidities as secondary outcomes.

RESULTS

The authors’ results showed an average improvement of 57.5% ± 24.6% across studies on the YGTSS. They also found that comorbid depression and stimulation pulse width each correlated negatively with outcome (p < 0.05). In patients with less severe GTS, greater improvements were evident following thalamic stimulation. More than one-quarter (n = 16, 27.6%) of participants experienced side effects, the majority of which were minor.

CONCLUSIONS

DBS in the pediatric population may be an effective option with a moderate safety profile for treatment of GTS in carefully selected children and youth. Large, prospective studies with long-term follow-up are necessary to understand how DBS influences tic symptoms and may alter the natural course of GTS in children.

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Clinical phenotypes associated with outcomes following deep brain stimulation for childhood dystonia

Jetan H. Badhiwala, Brij Karmur, Lior M. Elkaim, Naif M. Alotaibi, Benjamin R. Morgan, Nir Lipsman, Philippe De Vloo, Suneil K. Kalia, Andres M. Lozano, and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

Although deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an accepted treatment for childhood dystonia, there is significant heterogeneity in treatment response and few data are available to identify ideal surgical candidates.

METHODS

Data were derived from a systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis of DBS for dystonia in children that was previously published. Outcomes were assessed using the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale for movement (BFMDRS-M) and for disability (BFMDRS-D). The authors used partial least squares, bootstrapping, and permutation statistics to extract patterns of contributions of specific preoperative characteristics to relationship with distinct outcomes, in all patients and in patients with primary and secondary dystonia separately.

RESULTS

Of 301 children undergoing DBS for dystonia, 167 had primary dystonia, 125 secondary dystonia, and 9 myoclonus dystonia. Three dissociable preoperative phenotypes (latent variables) were identified and associated with the following: 1) BFMDRS-M at last follow-up; 2) relative change in BFMDRS-M score; and 3) relative change in BFMDRS-D score. The phenotype of patients with secondary dystonia, with a high BFMDRS-M score and truncal involvement, undergoing DBS at a younger age, was associated with a worse postoperative BFMDRS-M score. Children with primary dystonia involving the trunk had greater improvement in BFMDRS-M and -D scores. Those with primary dystonia of shorter duration and proportion of life with disease, undergoing globus pallidus DBS, had greater improvements in BFMDRS-D scores at long-term follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

In a comprehensive, data-driven, multivariate analysis of DBS for childhood dystonia, the authors identified novel and dissociable patient phenotypes associated with distinct outcomes. The findings of this report may inform surgical candidacy for DBS.

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Localization of clinically effective stimulating electrodes in the human subthalamic nucleus on magnetic resonance imaging

Jean A. Saint-Cyr, Tasnuva Hoque, Luiz C. M. Pereira, Jonathan O. Dostrovsky, William D. Hutchison, David J. Mikulis, Aviva Abosch, Elspeth Sime, Anthony E. Lang, and Andres M. Lozano

Object. The authors sought to determine the location of deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes that were most effective in treating Parkinson disease (PD).

Methods. Fifty-four DBS electrodes were localized in and adjacent to the subthalamic nucleus (STN) postoperatively by using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in a series of 29 patients in whom electrodes were implanted for the treatment of medically refractory PD, and for whom quantitative clinical assessments were available both pre- and postoperatively. A novel MR imaging sequence was developed that optimized visualization of the STN. The coordinates of the tips of these electrodes were calculated three dimensionally and the results were normalized and corrected for individual differences by using intraoperative neurophysiological data (mean 5.13 mm caudal to the midcommissural point [MCP], 8.46 mm inferior to the anterior commissure—posterior commissure [AC—PC], and 10.2 mm lateral to the midline).

Despite reported concerns about distortion on the MR image, reconstructions provided consistent data for the localization of electrodes. The neurosurgical procedures used, which were guided by combined neuroimaging and neurophysiological methods, resulted in the consistent placement of DBS electrodes in the subthalamus and mesencephalon such that the electrode contacts passed through the STN and dorsally adjacent fields of Forel (FF) and zona incerta (ZI). The mean location of the clinically effective contacts was in the anterodorsal STN (mean 1.62 mm posterior to the MCP, 2.47 mm inferior to the AC—PC, and 11.72 mm lateral to the midline). Clinically effective stimulation was most commonly directed at the anterodorsal STN, with the current spreading into the dorsally adjacent FF and ZI.

Conclusions. The anatomical localization of clinically effective electrode contacts provided in this study yields useful information for the postoperative programming of DBS electrodes.

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Thalamic stimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging: localization of cortical and subcortical activation with implanted electrodes

Technical note

Ali R. Rezai, Andres M. Lozano, Adrian P. Crawley, Michael L. G. Joy, Karen D. Davis, Chun L. Kwan, Jonathan O. Dostrovsky, Ronald R. Tasker, and David J. Mikulis

The utility of functional magnetic resonance (fMR) imaging in patients with implanted thalamic electrodes has not yet been determined. The aim of this study was to establish the safety of performing fMR imaging in patients with thalamic deep brain stimulators and to determine the value of fMR imaging in detecting cortical and subcortical activity during stimulation.

Functional MR imaging was performed in three patients suffering from chronic pain and two patients with essential tremor. Two of the three patients with pain had undergone electrode implantation in the thalamic sensory ventralis caudalis (Vc) nucleus and the other had undergone electrode implantation in both the Vc and the periventricular gray (PVG) matter. Patients with tremor underwent electrode implantation in the ventralis intermedius (Vim) nucleus. Functional MR imaging was performed during stimulation by using a pulse generator connected to a transcutaneous extension lead. Clinically, Vc stimulation evoked paresthesias in the contralateral body, PVG stimulation evoked a sensation of diffuse internal body warmth, and Vim stimulation caused tremor arrest.

Functional images were acquired using a 1.5-tesla MR imaging system. The Vc stimulation at intensities provoking paresthesias resulted in activation of the primary somatosensory cortex (SI). Stimulation at subthreshold intensities failed to activate the SI. Additional stimulation-coupled activation was observed in the thalamus, the secondary somatosensory cortex (SII), and the insula. In contrast, stimulation of the PVG electrode did not evoke paresthesias or activate the SI, but resulted in medial thalamic and cingulate cortex activation. Stimulation in the Vim resulted in thalamic, basal ganglia, and SI activation.

An evaluation of the safety of the procedure indicated that significant current could be induced within the electrode if a faulty connecting cable (defective insulation) came in contact with the patient. Simple precautions, such as inspection of wires for fraying and prevention of their contact with the patient, enabled the procedure to be conducted safely. Clinical safety was further corroborated by performing 86 MR studies in patients in whom electrodes had been implanted with no adverse clinical effects.

This is the first report of the use of fMR imaging during stimulation with implanted thalamic electrodes. The authors' findings demonstrate that fMR imaging can safely detect the activation of cortical and subcortical neuronal pathways during stimulation and that stimulation does not interfere with imaging. This approach offers great potential for understanding the mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation and those underlying pain and tremor generation.

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Thalamic stimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging: localization of cortical and subcortical activation with implanted electrodes

Technical note

Ali R. Rezai, Andres M. Lozano, Adrian P. Crawley, Michael L. G. Joy, Karen D. Davis, Chun L. Kwan, Jonathan O. Dostrovsky, Ronald R. Tasker, and David J. Mikulis

✓ The utility of functional magnetic resonance (fMR) imaging in patients with implanted thalamic electrodes has not yet been determined. The aim of this study was to establish the safety of performing fMR imaging in patients with thalamic deep brain stimulators and to determine the value of fMR imaging in detecting cortical and subcortical activity during stimulation.

Functional MR imaging was performed in three patients suffering from chronic pain and two patients with essential tremor. Two of the three patients with pain had undergone electrode implantation in the thalamic sensory ventralis caudalis (Vc) nucleus and the other had undergone electrode implantation in both the Vc and the periventricular gray (PVG) matter. Patients with tremor underwent electrode implantation in the ventralis intermedius (Vim) nucleus. Functional MR imaging was performed during stimulation by using a pulse generator connected to a transcutaneous extension lead. Clinically, Vc stimulation evoked paresthesias in the contralateral body, PVG stimulation evoked a sensation of diffuse internal body warmth, and Vim stimulation caused tremor arrest.

Functional images were acquired using a 1.5-tesla MR imaging system. The Vc stimulation at intensities provoking paresthesias resulted in activation of the primary somatosensory cortex (SI). Stimulation at subthreshold intensities failed to activate the SI. Additional stimulation-coupled activation was observed in the thalamus, the secondary somatosensory cortex (SII), and the insula. In contrast, stimulation of the PVG electrode did not evoke paresthesias or activate the SI, but resulted in medial thalamic and cingulate cortex activation. Stimulation in the Vim resulted in thalamic, basal ganglia, and SI activation.

An evaluation of the safety of the procedure indicated that significant current could be induced within the electrode if a faulty connecting cable (defective insulation) came in contact with the patient. Simple precautions, such as inspection of wires for fraying and prevention of their contact with the patient, enabled the procedure to be conducted safely. Clinical safety was further corroborated by performing 86 MR studies in patients in whom electrodes had been implanted with no adverse clinical effects.

This is the first report of the use of fMR imaging during stimulation with implanted thalamic electrodes. The authors' findings demonstrate that fMR imaging can safely detect the activation of cortical and subcortical neuronal pathways during stimulation and that stimulation does not interfere with imaging. This approach offers great potential for understanding the mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation and those underlying pain and tremor generation.

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Variability in lesion location after microelectrode-guided pallidotomy for Parkinson's disease: anatomical, physiological, and technical factors that determine lesion distribution

Robert E. Gross, Wendy J. Lombardi, William D. Hutchison, Soni Narula, Jean A. Saint-Cyr, Jonathan O. Dostrovsky, Ronald R. Tasker, Anthony E. Lang, and Andres M. Lozano

Object. To understand the factors that determine the distribution of lesions after microelectrode-guided pallidotomy for Parkinson's disease, the authors quantitatively characterized lesion location in a cohort of patients who were prospectively followed to determine the effects of pallidotomy on clinical outcome.

Methods. Thirty-three patients underwent volumetric magnetic resonance (MR) imaging after surgery to allow quantitative lesion localization in relation to conventional intraventricular landmarks and, alternatively, more anatomically relevant landmarks. The validity of the method was verified in a cohort of postpallidotomy patients who underwent concurrent volumetric and stereotactic MR imaging in an external head frame. Lesions were distributed over a considerable distance in the anteroposterior (8.8 mm) and mediolateral (8.7 mm) dimensions in relation to the anterior commissure and wall of the third ventricle, respectively. Less variation was seen in lesion location in the dorsoventral dimension (4.8 mm) in relation to the intercommissural plane.

Conclusions. Lesion distribution was not random: lesion locations in the anteroposterior and mediolateral dimensions were highly correlated, such that lesions were distributed from anteromedial to posterolateral, parallel to the border of the globus pallidus internus with the obliquely oriented internal capsule. The factors that led to variability in lesion location were variation in third ventricle width and the oblique anteromedial-to-posterolateral course of the internal capsule. This demonstration of variability of lesion location in a cohort of patients who experienced excellent clinical benefits and minimal postoperative complications emphasizes the importance of anatomical variations in determining lesion position and the need for physiological corroboration for correct lesion placement.

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Complete resolution of postherpetic neuralgia following pallidotomy: case report

Philippe De Vloo, Luka Milosevic, Robert M. Gramer, David Hernán Aguirre-Padilla, Robert F. Dallapiazza, Darrin J. Lee, William D. Hutchison, Alfonso Fasano, and Andres M. Lozano

The authors report on a female patient with left-dominant Parkinson’s disease with motor fluctuations and levodopa-induced dyskinesias and comorbid postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), who underwent a right-sided pallidotomy. Besides a substantial improvement in her Parkinson’s symptoms, she reported an immediate and complete disappearance of PHN. This neuralgia had been long-standing, pharmacologically refractory, and severe (preoperative Brief Pain Inventory [BPI] pain severity score of 8.0, BPI pain interference score of 7.3, short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire sensory pain rating index of 7 and affective pain rating index of 10, Present Pain Intensity rank value of 4, and visual analog scale score of 81 mm; all postoperative scores were 0). She continued to be pain free at 16 months postoperatively.

This peculiar finding adds substantially to the largely unrecognized evidence for the role of the pallidum in pain processing, based on previous electrophysiological, metabolic, anatomical, pharmacological, and clinical observations. Therefore, the potential of the pallidum as a neurosurgical target for neuropathic pain warrants further investigation.

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Dysgeusia induced and resolved by focused ultrasound thalamotomy: case report

Philippe De Vloo, Alexandre Boutet, Gavin J. B. Elias, Robert M. Gramer, Suresh E. Joel, Maheleth Llinas, Walter Kucharczyk, Alfonso Fasano, Clement Hamani, and Andres M Lozano

Dysgeusia, or distorted taste, has recently been acknowledged as a complication of thalamic ablation or thalamic deep brain stimulation as a treatment of tremor. In a unique patient, left-sided MR-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy improved right-sided essential tremor but also induced severe dysgeusia. Although dysgeusia persisted and caused substantial weight loss, tremor slowly relapsed. Therefore, 19 months after the first procedure, the patient underwent a second focused ultrasound thalamotomy procedure, which again improved tremor but also completely resolved the dysgeusia.

On the basis of normative and patient-specific whole-brain tractography, the authors determined the relationship between the thalamotomy lesions and the medial border of the medial lemniscus—a surrogate for the solitariothalamic gustatory fibers—after the first and second focused ultrasound thalamotomy procedures. Both tractography methods suggested partial and complete disruption of the solitariothalamic gustatory fibers after the first and second thalamotomy procedures, respectively.

The tractography findings in this unique patient demonstrate that incomplete and complete disruption of a neural pathway can induce and resolve symptoms, respectively, and serve as the rationale for ablative procedures for neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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Skull bone marrow injury caused by MR-guided focused ultrasound for cerebral functional procedures

Michael L. Schwartz, Robert Yeung, Yuexi Huang, Nir Lipsman, Vibhor Krishna, Jennifer D. Jain, Martin G. Chapman, Andres M. Lozano, and Kullervo Hynynen

OBJECTIVE

One patient for whom an MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) pallidotomy was attempted was discovered to have multiple new skull lesions with the appearance of infarcts on the MRI scan 3 months after his attempted treatment. The authors conducted a retrospective review of the first 30 patients treated with MRgFUS to determine the incidence of skull lesions in patients undergoing these procedures and to consider possible causes.

METHODS

A retrospective review of the MRI scans of the first 30 patients, 1 attempted pallidotomy and 29 ventral intermediate nucleus thalamotomies, was conducted. The correlation of the mean skull density ratio (SDR) and the maximum energy applied in the production or attempted production of a brain lesion was examined.

RESULTS

Of 30 patients treated with MRgFUS for movement disorders, 7 were found to have new skull lesions that were not present prior to treatment and not visible on the posttreatment day 1 MRI scan. Discomfort was reported at the time of treatment by some patients with and without skull lesions. All patients with skull lesions were completely asymptomatic. There was no correlation between the mean SDR and the presence or absence of skull lesions, but the maximum energy applied with the Exablate system was significantly greater in patients with skull lesions than in those without.

CONCLUSIONS

It is known that local skull density, thickness, and SDR vary from location to location. Sufficient energy transfer resulting in local heating sufficient to produce a bone lesion may occur in regions of low SDR. A correlation of lesion location and local skull properties should be made in future studies.

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3-Tesla MRI in patients with fully implanted deep brain stimulation devices: a preliminary study in 10 patients

Francesco Sammartino, Vibhor Krishna, Tejas Sankar, Jason Fisico, Suneil K. Kalia, Mojgan Hodaie, Walter Kucharczyk, David J. Mikulis, Adrian Crawley, and Andres M. Lozano

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety of 3-T MRI in patients with implanted deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems.

METHODS

This study was performed in 2 phases. In an initial phantom study, a Lucite phantom filled with tissue-mimicking gel was assembled. The system was equipped with a single DBS electrode connected to an internal pulse generator. The tip of the electrode was coupled to a fiber optic thermometer with a temperature resolution of 0.1°C. Both anatomical (T1- and T2-weighted) and functional MRI sequences were tested. A temperature change within 2°C from baseline was considered safe. After findings from the phantom study suggested safety, 10 patients with implanted DBS systems targeting various brain areas provided informed consent and underwent 3-T MRI using the same imaging sequences. Detailed neurological evaluations and internal pulse generator interrogations were performed before and after imaging.

RESULTS

During phantom testing, the maximum temperature increase was registered using the T2-weighted sequence. The maximal temperature changes at the tip of the DBS electrode were < 1°C for all sequences tested. In all patients, adequate images were obtained with structural imaging, although a significant artifact from lead connectors interfered with functional imaging quality. No heating, warmth, or adverse neurological effects were observed.

CONCLUSIONS

To the authors' knowledge, this was the first study to assess the clinical safety of 3-T MRI in patients with a fully implanted DBS system (electrodes, extensions, and pulse generator). It provided preliminary data that will allow further examination and assessment of the safety of 3-T imaging studies in patients with implanted DBS systems. The authors cannot advocate widespread use of this type of imaging in patients with DBS implants until more safety data are obtained.