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  • Author or Editor: Michael Y. Oh x
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Kai Zhang, Sanjay Bhatia, Michael Y. Oh, David Cohen, Cindy Angle and Donald Whiting

Object

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus (VIM) has proven to be efficacious in the treatment of essential tremor (ET). The authors report on long-term follow-up of a series of patients treated at 1 institution by 1 neurosurgeon.

Methods

Thirty-four patients with ET received unilateral or bilateral VIM DBS. The tremor and handwriting components of the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin clinical tremor rating scale were assessed pre- and postoperatively. Visual analog scale scores for overall patient satisfaction and tremor control were recorded. Stimulation parameters at different intervals after surgery were also recorded.

Results

The average follow-up period was 56.9 months. The average tremor score improved from 3.27 preoperatively to 0.64 postoperatively (on stimulation; p < 0.001) and the average handwriting score improved from 2.94 to 0.89 (p < 0.001). The average visual analog scale score for overall satisfaction was 8.12 and for tremor control was 1.43. Overall, there was an 80.4% improvement in tremor and 69.7% improvement in handwriting. In 12 patients both tremor and handwriting scores were compared between 57.3 months and 90.7 months after surgery and no significant changes were discovered. Comparison of stimulation parameters at onset and at 1–3, 3–5, 5–7, and > 7 years after surgery showed significant differences, with a gradual increase in stimulation parameters within 5 years after surgery. The overall hardware-related complication rate was 23.5%.

Conclusions

Deep brain stimulation of the VIM is an efficient and safe treatment for ET. Tremor and handwriting improvements in long-term follow-up are stable. The patients' perception of their outcome is quite good. However, tolerance may develop in some patients requiring changes in stimulation parameters.

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Dunbar Alcindor, Michael Y. Oh, Susan Baser, Cindy Angle, Boyle C. Cheng and Donald Whiting

The authors report the case of DYT1-positive primary generalized dystonia refractory to medical management that was successfully treated with continuous deep brain stimulation of the internal segment of the globus pallidus. Prior studies have shown that neuromusculoskeletal deficits can remain permanent if early surgical intervention is not undertaken. The authors report prolonged efficacy and safety over a 10-year period in a 28-year-old man.

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W. Bryan Wilent, Michael Y. Oh, Cathrin M. Buetefisch, Julian E. Bailes, Diane Cantella, Cindy Angle and Donald M. Whiting

Panic attacks are sudden debilitating attacks of intense distress often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Numerous brain regions, hormones, and neurotransmitter systems are putatively involved, but the etiology and neurocircuitry of panic attacks is far from established. One particular brain region of interest is the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH). In cats and rats, electrical stimulation delivered to the VMH has been shown to evoke an emotional “panic attack–like” escape behavior, and in humans, stimulation targeting nuclei just posterior or anterior to the VMH has reportedly induced panic attacks. The authors report findings obtained in an awake patient undergoing bilateral implantation of deep brain stimulation electrodes into the hypothalamus that strongly implicates the VMH as being critically involved in the genesis of panic attacks. First, as the stimulating electrode progressed deeper into the VMH, the intensity of stimulation required to evoke an attack systematically decreased; second, while stimulation of the VMH in either hemisphere evoked panic, stimulation that appeared to be in the center of the VMH was more potent. Thus, this evidence supports the role of the VMH in the induction of panic attacks purported by animal studies.

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W. Bryan Wilent, Michael Y. Oh, Catherine Buetefisch, Julian E. Bailes, Diane Cantella, Cindy Angle and Donald M. Whiting

Major contributions to the understanding of human brain function have come from detailed clinical reports of responses evoked by electrical stimulation and specific brain regions during neurosurgical procedures in awake humans. In this study, microstimulation evoked responses and extracellular unit recordings were obtained intraoperatively in 3 awake patients undergoing bilateral implantation of deep brain stimulation electrodes in the lateral hypothalamus. The microstimulation evoked responses exhibited a clear anatomical distribution. Anxiety was most reliably evoked by stimulation directed ventromedially within or adjacent to the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, nausea was most reliably evoked by stimulation directed at the center of the lateral hypothalamus, and paresthesias were most reliably evoked by stimulation at the border of the lateral hypothalamus and basal nuclei. Regarding the unit recordings, the firing rates of individual neurons did not have an anatomical distribution, but a small subpopulation of neurons located at the border of the lateral hypothalamus and basal nuclei exhibited a fast rhythmically bursting behavior with an intraburst frequency of 200–400 Hz and an interburst frequency of 10–20 Hz. Based on animal studies, the lateral hypothalamic area and surrounding hypothalamic nuclei are putatively involved with a variety of physiological, behavioral, and sensory functions. The lateral hypothalamus is situated to play a dynamic and complex role in human behavior and this report further shows that to be true. In addition, this report should serve as a valuable resource for future intracranial work in which accurate targeting within this region is required.