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Michael Pourfar, Chengke Tang, Tanya Lin, Vijay Dhawan, Michael G. Kaplitt and David Eidelberg

Object

The authors investigated whether the insertion of deep brain stimulation electrodes into the subthalamic nucleus can alter regional brain metabolism in the absence of stimulation.

Methods

Six patients with Parkinson disease (PD) underwent preoperative FDG PET scanning, and again after STN electrode implantation with stimulation turned off.

Results

Compared with baseline values, glucose utilization was reduced in the postoperative off-stimulation scans in the putamen/globus pallidus and in the ventral thalamus (p < 0.01), and there was increased metabolism in the sensorimotor cortex and cerebellum (p < 0.005). The expression of a specific PD-related spatial covariance pattern measured in the FDG PET data did not change after electrode implantation (p = 0.36), nor was there a significant change in clinical motor ratings (p = 0.44). Differences in PD-related spatial covariance pattern expression among the patients after electrode implantation did, however, correlate with the number of microelectrode recording trajectories placed during surgery (r = –0.82, p < 0.05).

Conclusions

These findings suggest that electrode implantation can impart a microlesion effect on regional brain function. Nonetheless, these local changes did not cross the threshold of network modulation needed to achieve clinical benefit.

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Michael H. Pourfar, Chris C. Tang, Alon Y. Mogilner, Vijay Dhawan and David Eidelberg

The frequency with which patients with atypical parkinsonism and advanced motor symptoms undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures is unknown. However, the potential exposure of these patients to unnecessary surgical risks makes their identification critical. As many as 15% of patients enrolled in recent early Parkinson disease (PD) trials have been found to lack evidence of a dopaminergic deficit following PET or SPECT imaging. This suggests that a number of patients with parkinsonism who are referred for DBS may not have idiopathic PD. The authors report on 2 patients with probable psychogenic parkinsonism who presented for DBS surgery. They found that both patients had normal caudate and putamen [18F]-fluorodopa uptake on PET imaging, along with normal expression of specific disease-related metabolic networks for PD and multiple system atrophy, a common form of atypical neurodegenerative parkinsonism. The clinical and PET findings in these patients highlight the role of functional imaging in assisting clinical decision making when the diagnosis is uncertain.

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Richard S. Dowd, Michael Pourfar and Alon Y. Mogilner

OBJECTIVE

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by multiple motor and phonic tics. While pharmacological and behavioral therapy can be effective in most patients, a subset of patients remains refractory to treatment. Increasing clinical evidence from multiple centers suggests that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the medial thalamus can be effective in many cases of refractory TS.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed outcomes in 13 patients with refractory TS who underwent medial thalamic DBS performed by their team over a 7-year period. Patients were evaluated by a multidisciplinary team, and preoperative objective assessments were performed using the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) and Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. YGTSS scores were calculated at visits immediately postoperatively and at the most recent follow-up in patients with a minimum of 6 months of postoperative follow-up. Coordinates of the active DBS contacts were calculated and projected onto each patient's pre- and postoperative images.

RESULTS

Patients showed an average decrease of 37% (p = 0.0063) in the total tic severity at their first postoperative visit. At their latest visit, their scores achieved significance, decreasing from preoperative scores by an average of 50% (p = 0.0014). The average position of the active contact was noted to be at the junction of the posterior ventralis oralis internus/centromedian-parafascicular nuclei. Device-related complications occurred in 2 patients, necessitating additional surgeries. All patients continued to use the system at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' data are consistent with the small but growing body of literature supporting DBS of the ventralis oralis internus/centromedian-parafascicular thalamus as an effective and relatively safe treatment for severe, refractory TS.

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Kalman Katlowitz, Mia Ko, Alon Y. Mogilner and Michael Pourfar

OBJECTIVE

The efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in the treatment of Parkinson disease (PD)–related tremor has been well established. However, the relative impact on arm, leg, and chin tremor has been less clearly elucidated. The authors evaluated the distribution of tremors in a PD cohort undergoing STN DBS and sought to evaluate the differential impact of DBS as a function of tremor location.

METHODS

A retrospective study of patients with PD with tremor who underwent DBS surgery between 2012 and 2016 was performed to evaluate the impact of STN stimulation on overall and regional tremor scores.

RESULTS

Across 66 patients the authors found an average of 78% overall reduction in tremor after 6 months. In this cohort, the authors found that tremor reduction was somewhat better for arm than for leg tremors, especially in instances of higher preoperative tremor (84% vs 71% reduction, respectively, for initial tremor scores ≥ 2). No significant difference in response was found between patients with medication-responsive versus medication-nonresponsive tremors.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that although DBS improved tremor in all regions, the improvement was not uniform between chin, arm, and leg—even within the same patient. The reasons behind these differing responses are speculative but suggest that STN DBS may more reliably reduce arm tremors than leg tremors.

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Kalman Katlowitz, Mia Ko, Alon Y. Mogilner and Michael Pourfar

OBJECTIVE

The efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in the treatment of Parkinson disease (PD)–related tremor has been well established. However, the relative impact on arm, leg, and chin tremor has been less clearly elucidated. The authors evaluated the distribution of tremors in a PD cohort undergoing STN DBS and sought to evaluate the differential impact of DBS as a function of tremor location.

METHODS

A retrospective study of patients with PD with tremor who underwent DBS surgery between 2012 and 2016 was performed to evaluate the impact of STN stimulation on overall and regional tremor scores.

RESULTS

Across 66 patients the authors found an average of 78% overall reduction in tremor after 6 months. In this cohort, the authors found that tremor reduction was somewhat better for arm than for leg tremors, especially in instances of higher preoperative tremor (84% vs 71% reduction, respectively, for initial tremor scores ≥ 2). No significant difference in response was found between patients with medication-responsive versus medication-nonresponsive tremors.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that although DBS improved tremor in all regions, the improvement was not uniform between chin, arm, and leg—even within the same patient. The reasons behind these differing responses are speculative but suggest that STN DBS may more reliably reduce arm tremors than leg tremors.