Subthalamic Nucleus Stimulation Impairs Sequence Processing in Patients with Parkinson's Disease

Abstract

Background: Maintaining and manipulating sequences online is essential for language and memory. In Parkinson's disease (PD), poor performance in sequencing tasks has been associated with basal ganglia dysfunction, especially subthalamic hyperactivity. Objective: This study is aimed to investigate the impact of high-frequency subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) on sequence processing in PD. Methods: Twenty-nine patients with PD (17 women) completed a 'before/after' sentence task and a digit ordering task with STN DBS ON and OFF. In the sentence task, patients read a sequence of events expressed in the actual order of occurrence ('after' sentences) or reversed order ('before' sentences) for comprehension. In the digit task, patients recalled a sequence of ordered digits (ordered trials) or reordered and recalled random digits in ascending order (random trials). Volumes of tissue activated (VTAs) were estimated for the motor and associative STN. Results: Patients were slower with STN DBS ON versus OFF in both tasks, although their motor symptoms were significantly improved under DBS. In the sentence task, patients showed higher ordering-related reaction time costs ('before' > 'after') with DBS ON versus OFF. Moreover, patients with larger left associative VTAs, smaller total motor VTAs, and more daily exposure to dopaminergic drugs tended to show larger reaction time cost increases under DBS. In the digit ordering task, patients with too large or too small right associative VTAs tended to show larger reaction time cost increases under DBS. Conclusion: Stimulating the STN, especially its associative part, might impair sequence processing in language and memory.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Volume11
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1869-1879
Number of pages11
ISSN1877-7171
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

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