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Christian Gross, Alain Rougier, Dominique Guehl, Thomas Boraud, Jean Julien, and Bernard Bioulac

✓ The effectiveness of ventroposterolateral pallidotomy in the treatment of akinesia and rigidity is not a new discovery and agrees with recent investigations into the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, which highlight the role played by the unbridled activity of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the consequent overactivity of the globus pallidus internalis (GPi). Because high-frequency stimulation can reversibly incapacitate a nerve structure, we applied stimulation to the same target.

Seven patients suffering from severe Parkinson's disease (Stages III–V on the Hoehn and Yahr scale) and, particularly, bradykinesia, rigidity, and levodopa-induced dyskinesias underwent unilateral electrode implantation in the posteroventral GPi. Follow-up evaluation using the regular Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale has been conducted for 1 year in all seven patients, 2 years in five of them, and 3 years in one. In all cases high-frequency stimulation has alleviated akinesia and rigidity and has generally improved gait and speech disturbances. In some cases tremor was attenuated. In a similar manner, the authors observed a marked diminution in levodopa-induced dyskinesias. This could be an excellent primary therapy for younger patients exhibiting severe bradykinesia, rigidity, and levodopa-induced dyskinesias, which would allow therapists to keep ventroposterolateral pallidotomy in reserve as a second weapon.

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Bruno Aouizerate, Emmanuel Cuny, Corinne Martin-Guehl, Dominique Guehl, Helene Amieva, Abdelhamid Benazzouz, Colette Fabrigoule, Michele Allard, Alain Rougier, Bernard Bioulac, Jean Tignol, and Pierre Burbaud

✓ Obsessive—compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder associated with recurrent intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. Although conventional pharmacological and/or psychological treatments are well established and effective in treating OCD, symptoms remain unchanged in up to 30% of patients. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior limb of the internal capsule has recently been proposed as a possible therapeutic alternative in treatment-resistant OCD. In the present study, the authors tested the hypothesis that DBS of the ventral caudate nucleus might be effective in a patient with intractable severe OCD and concomitant major depression. Psychiatric assessment included the Yale—Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS), and the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale for determining the symptom severity of OCD, depression, and anxiety as well as the quality of pychosocial and occupational functioning, respectively. Neuropsychological assessment consisted of a wide range of tests primarily exploring memory and executive functions. Deep brain stimulation of the ventral caudate nucleus markedly improved symptoms of depression and anxiety until their remission, which was achieved at 6 months after the start of stimulation (HDRS ≤ 7 and HARS ≤ 10). Remission of OCD (Y-BOCS < 16) was also delayed after 12 or 15 months of DBS. The level of functioning pursuant to the GAF scale progressively increased during the 15-month follow-up period. No neuropsychological deterioration was observed, indicating that DBS of the ventral caudate nucleus could be a promising strategy in the treatment of refractory cases of both OCD and major depression.

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Bruno Aouizerate, Emmanuel Cuny, Eric Bardinet, Jerome Yelnik, Corinne Martin-Guehl, Jean-Yves Rotge, Alain Rougier, Bernard Bioulac, Jean Tignol, Luc Mallet, Pierre Burbaud, and Dominique Guehl

The ventral striatum, including the head of the caudate nucleus and the nucleus accumbens, is a putative target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and major depression (MD). However, the respective roles of these structures in the pathophysiology of OCD and MD remain to be clarified. To address this issue, DBS of the ventral striatum was tested in 2 patients with severely distressing and intractable forms of OCD and MD. Comparisons of clinical outcomes and anatomical data on electrode positioning showed that caudate nucleus stimulation preferentially alleviated OCD manifestations, whereas nucleus accumbens stimulation improved depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that the caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens participate differently in the pathogenesis of both of these psychiatric conditions.