Arachnophobia alleviated by subthalamic nucleus stimulation for Parkinson’s disease
OBJECTIVE We developed a novel method to map behavioral effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) across a 3-dimensional brain region and to assign statistical significance after stringent type I error correction. This method was applied to behavioral changes in Parkinson disease (PD) induced by subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS to determine whether these responses depended on anatomical location of DBS. METHODS Fifty-one PD participants with STN DBS were evaluated off medication, with DBS off and during unilateral STN DBS with clinically optimized settings. Dependent variables included DBS-induced changes in Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) subscores, kinematic measures of bradykinesia and rigidity, working memory, response inhibition, mood, anxiety, and akathisia. Weighted t tests at each voxel produced p images showing where DBS most significantly affected each dependent variable based on outcomes of participants with nearby DBS. Finally, a permutation test computed the probability that this p image indicated significantly different responses based on stimulation site. RESULTS Most motor variables improved with DBS anywhere in the STN region, but several motor, cognitive, and affective responses significantly depended on precise location stimulated, with peak p values in superior STN/zona incerta (quantified bradykinesia), dorsal STN (mood, anxiety), and inferior STN/substantia nigra (UPDRS tremor, working memory). INTERPRETATION Our method identified DBS-induced behavioral changes that depended significantly on DBS site. These results do not support complete functional segregation within STN, because movement improved with DBS throughout, and mood improved with dorsal STN DBS. Rather, findings support functional convergence of motor, cognitive, and limbic information in STN.