Chronic Deep Brain Stimulation of the Subthalamic Nucleus for Parkinson’s Disease: Effects on Cognition, Mood, Anxiety and Personality Traits

Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Italy.
European Neurology (Impact Factor: 1.36). 02/2006; 55(3):136-44. DOI: 10.1159/000093213
Source: PubMed


To evaluate modifications occurring in cognitive functions and behavioural aspects in a group of 72 consecutive patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) 15 months after bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN).
72 consecutive PD patients bilaterally implanted for DBS of the STN were evaluated before and after surgery with a mean follow-up of 15 months. A neuropsychological assessment was performed to evaluate reasoning (Raven Colour Matrices), memory (Bisyllabic Word Repetition Test, Corsi's Block-Tapping Test, Paired-Associate Learning) and frontal executive functions (Trail Making Test Part B, Nelson Modified Card Sorting Test, phonemic and category verbal fluency tasks). Mood and suicidal ideation were evaluated using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Anxiety was measured by means of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and personality traits were evaluated with the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-III-R Axis II Disorders (SCID-II). Assessment of thought disorders and apathy was based on subitems of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale.
The comparisons between pre- and postoperative neuropsychological test scores showed a significant worsening only in phonemic and semantic verbal fluency tasks, while fewer errors were found in the Nelson Modified Card Sorting Test. Globally, behavioural assessment evidenced a small improvement in mood, as assessed by the BDI, in obsessive-compulsive and paranoid personality traits (SCID-II). Thought disorders worsened while suicidal ideation, anxiety and apathy showed no postoperative modifications. The analysis of individual outcomes (+/-1 SD criterion) evidenced a relevant postoperative cognitive decline in 3 patients out of 65 (4.5%). Moreover, following implantation, 1 patients exhibited psychosis (1.5%), 2 patients experienced a clinically relevant worsening of depressive symptoms (3%), 7 patients showed an increase in anxiety (12%) and 3 patients a worsening in depression and anxiety symptoms (3%). On the contrary, 12 patients (20%) showed a relevant improvement in mood and 14 patients (23%) a relevant reduction of anxiety symptoms after the surgery.
The present study confirms that STN DBS is cognitively safe since the only relevant change observed was a mild decrease in verbal fluency tasks. Globally, a small postoperative improvement was found in the BDI, and in two SCID-II subscales concerning obsessive-compulsive and paranoid personality traits, even though postoperative behavioural disturbances can occur in individual patients.

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Available from: Lorys Castelli,
    • "Non-motor symptoms (NMS) play a crucial role for QoL in patients with PD [4] [5]. Long-term effects of DBS on neuropsychological [6] [7] and neuropsychiatric symptoms [8] [9] have been studied. However, these symptoms contribute only to a part of NMS in patients with PD. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background STN-DBS is well established to improve motor symptoms and quality of life in patients with PD. While non-motor symptoms are crucial for quality of life in these patients, only neuropsychiatric and neuropsychological symptoms have been systematically studied in a longitudinal design so far. However, these are only a part of the non-motor symptoms spectrum. Hypothesis We hypothesized that STN-DBS is associated with a beneficial effect on a range of non-motor symptoms. Methods In this multicenter, open, prospective, international study (EuroInf-study, UKCRN10084/DRKS00006735) we investigated non-motor effects of STN-DBS in “real-life” use. We evaluated Non-motor Symptom Scale, and Questionnaire, PD Questionnaire-8, Scales for Outcomes of PD motor examination and complications, and activities of daily living preoperatively and at 6 months follow-up in 60 consecutive patients (35 male, mean age: 61.6 ± 7.8 years, mean disease duration: 10.4 ± 4.2 years). Results All outcomes improved significantly at 6 months follow-up (PD Questionaire-8, p = 0.006; activities of daily living, p = 0.012; all others, p < 0.001; Wilcoxon signed-rank, respectively paired t-test; Bonferroni-correction). Post-hoc analyses of Non-motor Symptom Scale domains showed a significant reduction of sleep/fatigue and miscellaneous domains (p ≤ 0.001), perceptual problems/hallucinations (p = 0.036), and urinary (p = 0.018) scores. Effect sizes were “moderate” for Non-motor Symptom Scale, and motor complications, “large” for motor examination, and “small” for other outcomes. Conclusions This study provides evidence that bilateral STN-DBS improves non-motor burden in patients with PD and opens the door to a more balanced evaluation of DBS outcomes. Further randomized studies are needed to confirm these findings and compare DBS non-motor effects to other invasive therapies of advanced PD.
    Brain Stimulation 08/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.brs.2015.08.005 · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    • "As far as depressive symptoms are concerned, our results evidenced that the pre-DBS group was more depressed than the C group, while no difference emerged between the DBS and C groups. This evidence seems to confirm the results of previous studies showing a positive effect of STN-DBS on depressive symptoms (Castelli et al., 2006), even though, as previously stated, this issue is still debated and other studies have pointed out a post-surgery increase in depressive symptoms (Strutt et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: To evaluate the effect of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN-DBS) on alexithymia, a deficit in affective regulation, comparing patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) submitted to STN-DBS (DBS group) to PD patients not yet treated with STN-DBS (pre-DBS group) and to healthy participants (C group). Methods: We recruited 27 consecutive STN-DBS PD patients, 38 consecutive pre-DBS patients and 27 healthy participants. Patients were assessed for alexithymia (Toronto Alexithymia Scale), depression, [beck depression inventory (BDI)], and cognitive functions (reasoning, memory, attentional, and executive tests). Results: The DBS patients performed worse than the pre-DBS patients in the corsi’s block-tapping test, in the phonemic fluency task and in the Frontal Assessment Battery. Around 30% of DBS (29.6%) and pre-DBS (31.6%) patients resulted alexithymic, compared with 14.8% in the C group. The results pointed out significantly higher alexithymia scores in both the DBS and pre-DBS groups compared with the C group, while no difference emerged between the DBS and pre-DBS groups. Pre-DBS group showed a significantly higher BDI score than the C group, while DBS group did not. Conclusion: Although the results suggest that STN-DBS does not affect alexithymia, both the DBS and pre-DBS patients reported higher prevalence (about 30%) of alexithymia than did healthy subjects (14.8%).
    Frontiers in Psychology 10/2014; 5(1168). DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01168 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "In DBS/PD-research test instruments based on the categorical approach such as the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM disorders (SCID-II) have occasionally been used [55]. However, we doubt that these instruments are adequate for our purpose: It is conceivable that the implantation and subsequent stimulation of neural tissues may cause some pathological changes in personality. "
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    ABSTRACT: Ethical evaluation of deep brain stimulation as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease is complicated by results that can be described as involving changes in the patient’s identity. The risk of becoming another person following surgery is alarming for patients, caregivers and clinicians alike. It is one of the most urgent conceptual and ethical problems facing deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease at this time. In our paper we take issue with this problem on two accounts. First, we elucidate what is meant by “becoming another person” from a conceptual point of view. After critically discussing two broad approaches we concentrate on the notion of “individual identity” which centers on the idea of “core attitudes”. Subsequently we discuss several approaches to determine what distinguishes core attitudes from those that are more peripheral. We argue for a “foundational-function model” highlighting the importance of specific dependency relations between these attitudes. Our second aim is to comment on the possibility to empirically measure changes in individual identity and argue that many of the instruments now commonly used in selecting and monitoring DBS-patients are inappropriate for this purpose. Future research in this area is advised combining a conceptual and an empirical approach as a basis of sound ethical appraisal. KeywordsNeuroethics–Deep brain stimulation–Personal identity–Parkinson’s disease–Personality measurement
    Neuroethics 12/2013; 6(3):1-13. DOI:10.1007/s12152-011-9100-1 · 1.31 Impact Factor
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