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Amitabh Gupta and Anthony E. Lang

Although shunt placement constitutes the primary treatment for idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH), it has been challenging to decide which patients to refer for such an intervention. Procedures involving CSF removal, such as large-volume lumbar puncture (LP) and external lumbar drainage, are commonly used to predict a successful response to surgery, but their positive and negative predictive values have considerable shortcomings. The authors here report the case of a 76-year-old woman with possible INPH whose condition improved equally well after actual and sham large-volume LPs. The authors discuss the implications of this placebo response in the context of the diagnosis and management of INPH. The authors suggest that the clinical response to sham procedures for CSF removal might provide important information for better predicting which patient might respond to shunt surgery.

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Roberto Heros

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Robert E. Gross, Edward G. Jones, Jonathan O. Dostrovsky, Catherine Bergeron, Anthony E. Lang, and Andres M. Lozano

✓ Chronic electrical stimulation of the thalamus is an effective treatment for essential and parkinsonian tremor. Although the preferred surgical target is generally accepted to lie within the ventral intermediate nucleus (Vim), the relationship between the surgically defined target and the true histologically defined target is addressed in only a few reports, due in large measure to the need for advanced cytoarchitectonic techniques to define the borders of the thalamic nuclei. The authors report on a patient who underwent effective thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) for tremor. By defining the boundaries of the thalamic nuclei, they were able to relate effective DBS to electrode location within the anterior region of the ventral posterior lateral nucleus—the proprioceptive shell of the sensory nucleus—and the posteroventral region of the ventral lateral nucleus, which are equivalent to the Vim defined by Hassler, et al.

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Galit Kleiner-Fisman, David N. Fisman, Elspeth Sime, Jean A. Saint-Cyr, Andres M. Lozano, and Anthony E. Lang

Object. The use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) has been associated with a marked initial improvement in individuals with advanced Parkinson disease (PD). Few data are available on the long-term outcomes of this procedure, however, or whether the initial benefits are sustained over time. The authors present the long-term results of a cohort of 25 individuals who underwent bilateral DBS of the STN between 1996 and 2001 and were followed up for 1 year or longer after implantation of the stimulator.

Methods. Patients were evaluated at baseline and repeatedly after surgery by using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS); the scale was applied to patients during periods in which antiparkinsonian medications were effective and periods when their effects had worn off. Postoperative UPDRS total scores and subscores, dyskinesia scores, and drug dosages were compared with baseline values, and changes in the patients' postoperative scores were evaluated to assess the possibility that the effect of DBS diminished over time.

In this cohort the median duration of follow-up review was 24 months (range 12–52 months). The combined (ADL and motor) total UPDRS score during the medication-off period improved after 1 year, decreasing by 42% relative to baseline (95% confidence interval [CI 35–50%], p < 0.001) and the motor score decreased by 48% (95% CI 42–55%, p < 0.001). These gains did diminish over time, although a sustained clinical benefit remained at the time of the last evaluation (41% improvement over baseline, 95% CI 31–50%; p < 0.001). Axial subscores at the time of the last evaluation showed only a trend toward improvement (p = 0.08), in contrast to scores for total tremor (p < 0.001), rigidity (p < 0.001), and bradykinesia (p = 0.003), for which highly significant differences from baseline were still present at the time of the last evaluation. Medication requirements diminished substantially, with total medication doses reduced by 38% (95% CI 27–48%, p < 0.001) at 1 year and 36% (95% CI 25–48%, p < 0.001) at the time of the last evaluation; this decrease may have accounted, at least in part, for the significant decrease of 46.4% (95% CI 20.2–72.5%, p = 0.007) in dyskinesia scores obtained by patients during the medication-on period. No preoperative demographic variable, such as the patient's age at the time of disease onset, age at surgery, sex, duration of disease before surgery, preoperative drug dosage, or preoperative severity of dyskinesia, was predictive of long-term outcome. The only predictor of a better outcome was the patient's preoperative response to levodopa.

Conclusions. In this group of patients with advanced PD who underwent bilateral DBS of the STN, sustained improvement in motor function was present a mean of 2 years after the procedure, and sustained reductions in drug requirements were also achieved. Improvements in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia were more marked and better sustained over time than improvements in axial symptoms. A good preoperative response to levodopa predicted a good response to surgery.

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Valerie Voon, Jean Saint-Cyr, Andres M. Lozano, Elena Moro, Yu Yan Poon, and Anthony E. Lang

Object. Postoperative psychiatric symptoms have been associated with subthalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson disease (PD), and preoperative psychiatric vulnerability, the effects of surgery, stimulation, medication changes, and psychosocial adjustment have been proposed as causative factors. The variables involved in whether preoperative psychiatric symptoms improve or worsen following surgery are not yet known. In the present study, preoperative psychiatric symptoms were systematically assessed in patients with PD presenting for routine preoperative psychiatric assessment.

Methods. Forty consecutive patients with PD presenting for DBS were interviewed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Inventory. Current depressive symptoms were quantified using clinician- and patient-rated depression scales. Seventy-eight percent of patients had at least one lifetime or current Axis I psychiatric diagnosis. The prevalence of depression was 60% (95% confidence interval [CI] 45–85), psychosis 35% (95% CI 25–50), and anxiety 40% (95% CI 25–55). These prevalence rates were comparable to or greater than those in the general population of patients with PD. Twenty-three percent of patients required psychiatric treatment for current symptoms prior to being considered eligible for DBS.

Conclusions. As part of the selection process for surgery, members of the study population were chosen for their lack of overt dementia or other active disabling psychiatric symptomatology. The incidence rates of psychiatric disorders, including those diseases occurring in the general population affected with PD, were greater than expected. Data in the present study lead one to question the reliability of patient-rated depression scales as the sole instrument for assessing depression. The authors highlight the need for evidence-based guidelines in the management of these preoperative symptoms as well as the involvement of psychiatric personnel in the assessment and management of these symptoms.

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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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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.