The association between surgical characteristics and cognitive decline following deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson's disease

A.E.P. Mulders, Y. Temel, M. Tonge, F.L.W.V.J. Schaper, V. van Kranen-Mastenbroek, L. Ackermans, P. Kubben, M.L.F. Janssen, A. Duits*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: Despite optimal improvement in motor functioning, both shortand long-term studies have reported small but consistent changes in cognitive functioning following STN-DBS in Parkinson's disease (PD). The aim of the present study was to explore whether surgical characteristics were associated with cognitive decline one year following STN-DBS.Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 49 PD patients who underwent bilateral STN-DBS. Cognitive change scores were related to the number of microelectrode recording (MER) trajectories, the STN length as measured by MER, and cortical entry points. Regression analyses were corrected for age at surgery, disease duration, education and preoperative levodopa responsiveness. Patients were then divided into a cognitive and non-cognitive decline group for each neuropsychological test and compared regarding demographic and surgical characteristics.Results: One year postoperatively, significant declines were found in verbal fluency, Stroop Color-Word test and Trail Making Test B (TMT-B). Only changes in TMT-B were associated with the coronal entry point in the right hemisphere. The number of MER trajectories and STN length were not associated with cognitive change scores. When comparing the cognitive decline and non-cognitive decline groups, no significant differences were found in surgical characteristics.Conclusions: The electrode passage through the right prefrontal lobe may contribute to subtle changes in executive function. However, only few patients showed clinically relevant cognitive decline. The use of multiple MER trajectories and a longer STN length were not associated with cognitive decline one year following surgery. From a cognitive point of view, DBS may be considered a relatively safe procedure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106341
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • cognitive decline
  • deep brain stimulation
  • executive function
  • microelectrode recordings
  • neuropsychological outcomes
  • parkinson's disease
  • surgical characteristics
  • trail
  • verbal fluency decline
  • Executive function
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Cognitive decline
  • Surgical characteristics

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