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  • Author or Editor: Kazutaka Kobayashi x
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Takamitsu Yamamoto, Yoichi Katayama, Toshikazu Kano, Kazutaka Kobayashi, Hideki Oshima and Chikashi Fukaya

Object. The tremor-suppression effect resulting from long-term stimulation of the thalamic nucleus ventralis intermedius (Vim) and the nucleus ventralis oralis posterior (Vop) was examined in the treatment of parkinsonian, essential, and poststroke tremor.

Methods. After identifying the accurate anterior border of the nucleus ventrocaudalis (Vc), deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes with four contacts were inserted into the Vim—Vop region at an angle of between 40 and 50° from the horizontal plane of the anterior commissure—posterior commissure line. Two distal contacts were placed on the Vim side and two proximal contacts on the Vop side. The best sites of stimulation and parameters of bipolar stimulation were selected in each case and follow-up examinations were conducted for at least 2 years.

In all 15 cases of parkinsonian tremor (18 sides) and in 14 of 15 cases of essential tremor (24 of 25 sides), cathodal stimulation of the Vim side with anodal stimulation of the Vop side was determined to be the best choice to suppress the tremor. In poststroke tremor, however, six of 12 cases (six of 12 sides) were selected for cathodal stimulation of the Vop side with anodal stimulation of the Vim side. The average stimulation intensity 1 month after initiation of DBS was 1.61 V in cases of parkinsonian tremor, 1.99 V in cases of essential tremor, and 2.39 V in cases of poststroke tremor. A comparison of stimulation intensities required at 1 and 24 months after initiation of DBS revealed that the lowest effective stimulation intensity increased 24.2% in cases of parkinsonian tremor, 21% in cases of poststroke tremor, and 46.9% in cases of essential tremor. Suppression of tremor was achieved in all cases (42 cases, 55 sides) during a period of 2 years. Nevertheless, two cases of poststroke tremor required dual-lead stimulation at the unilateral Vim—Vop region from the start of DBS, and two cases of essential tremor and one case of poststroke tremor required a stimulation intensity that was high enough to evoke unpleasant paresthesia and slight motor contraction during the follow-up period.

Conclusions. Effective stimulation sites and stimulation intensities differ in different kinds of tremor; Vim and Vop stimulation is necessary in many cases. Interactions of the Vim and Vop under the control of interconnected areas of the motor circuitry may play an important role in both the development and DBS-induced suppression of tremor.

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Chikashi Fukaya, Yoichi Katayama, Toshikazu Kano, Takafumi Nagaoka, Kazutaka Kobayashi, Hideki Oshima and Takamitsu Yamamoto

Object

Writer's cramp is a type of idiopathic focal hand dystonia characterized by muscle cramps that accompany execution of the writing task specifically. In this report, the authors describe the clinical outcome after thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy in patients with writer's cramp and present an illustrative case with which they compare the effects of pallidal and thalamic stimulation. In addition to these results for the clinical effectiveness, they also examine the best point and pattern for therapeutic stimulation of the motor thalamus, including the nucleus ventrooralis (VO) and the ventralis intermedius nucleus (VIM), for writer's cramp.

Methods

The authors applied thalamic DBS in five patients with writer's cramp. The inclusion criteria for the DBS trial in this disorder were a diagnosis of idiopathic writer's cramp and the absence of a positive response to medication. The exclusion criteria included significant cognitive dysfunction, active psychiatric symptoms, and evidence of other central nervous system diseases or other medical disorders. In one of the cases, DBS leads were implanted into both the globus pallidus internus and the VO/VIM, and test stimulation was performed for 1 week. The authors thus had an opportunity to compare the effects of pallidal and thalamic stimulation in this patient.

Results

Immediately after the initiation of thalamic stimulation, the neurological deficits associated with writer's cramp were improved in all five cases. Postoperatively all preoperative scale scores indicating the seriousness of the writer's cramp were significantly lower (p < 0.001). In the patient in whom two DBS leads were implanted, the clinical effect of thalamic stimulation was better than that of pallidal stimulation. During the thalamic stimulation, the maximum effect was obtained when stimulation was applied to both the VO and the VIM widely, compared with being applied only within the VO.

Conclusions

The authors successfully treated patients with writer's cramp by thalamic DBS. Insofar as they are aware, this is the first series in which writer's cramp has been treated with DBS. Thalamic stimulation appears to be a safe and valuable therapeutic option for writer's cramp.

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Hideki Oshima, Yoichi Katayama, Chikashi Fukaya, Toshikazu Kano, Kazutaka Kobayashi, Takamitsu Yamamoto and Yutaka Suzuki

✓Beginning-of-dose motor deterioration (BDMD) is a complication of levodopa medications in Parkinson disease (PD) that is presumably caused by inhibitory effects of levodopa. Only limited experience of BDMD has been described in the literature. The authors report the case of a patient with PD who demonstrated a marked BDMD while being treated with standard levodopa medications. This 55-year-old woman had a 12-year history of PD and a 10-year history of levodopa treatment. Marked exacerbation of symptoms occurred 15 to 20 minutes after every dose of levodopa at 100 mg and lasted approximately 15 minutes. The PD symptoms, particularly tremor and rigidity, were exacerbated more markedly during this period than during the wearing-off deterioration. The BDMD could be controlled very well by subthalamic nucleus (STN) stimulation without any change in the regimen of levodopa medications. These observations suggest that the BDMD was inhibited by STN stimulation through a direct effect.