Effects of STN DBS and auditory cueing on the performance of sequential movements and the occurrence of action tremor in Parkinson’s disease

Tjitske Heida, E.C. Wentink, Yan Zhao, Enrico Marani

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    Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients show a higher ability to perform repetitive movements when they are cued by external stimuli, suggesting that rhythmic synchronization with an auditory timekeeper can be achieved in the absence of intact basal ganglia function. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is another therapeutic method that improves movement performance in PD and may suppress or enhance action tremor. However, the combined effect of these therapies on action tremor has not been studied yet. In this pilot study, we thus test the effect of both DBS in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and auditory cueing on movement performance and action tremor. Methods: 7 PD patients treated with (bilateral) STN DBS were asked to move one hand or foot between two dots, separated by 30 cm as indicated on the table or the floor. The movement frequency was dictated by a metronome with a frequency in the range of 1.6 to 4.8 Hz. Each test was repeated three times for each extremity, with different stimulation settings applied during each repetition. The power spectral density patterns of recorded movements were studied. Tremor intermittency was taken into account by classifying each 2-second window of the recorded angular velocity signals as a tremor or non-tremor window. By determining the phase locking value it was tested whether movement or tremor was synchronized with the auditory cue. Results: While action tremor presence or absence did not affect the level of synchronization of the movement signal with the auditory cue for the different metronome frequencies, the number of extremities showing action tremor was significantly reduced under external cueing conditions in combination with DBS. In this respect the cueing frequencies of 1.6 and 4.8 Hz showed similar effects, suggesting that the frequency of the cueing signal is not that critical. Conclusion: The combination of deep brain stimulation and auditory cueing, which both are proposed to involve the activation of cerebellar circuits, shows an enhanced action tremor reduction in Parkinson’s disease.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • EWI-25441
    • BSS-Electrical Neurostimulation
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Subthalamic nucleus
    • METIS-309735
    • IR-93236
    • Action tremor
    • Auditory cueing
    • Deep Brain Stimulation
    • Power spectral density

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