Assessments of axial motor control during deep brain in Parkinsonian patients

Lee T. Robertson, Fay B. Horak, Valerie C. Anderson, Kim J. Burchiel, John P. Hammerstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We tested the hypothesis that bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the globus pallidus internus or the subthalamic nucleus improves various components of pastural and oromotor function and that some of the components correlate with changes in the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) in patients with Parkinson's disease. METHODS: Six patients with Parkinson's disease were evaluated for four postural and two orofacial UPDRS items, and quantitative tests of posture adjustments and oromotor control were performed while the patients were on and off DBS. Measurements of postural adjustments included reactive force and latency before a voluntary step. The oromotor assessments involved velocity and amplitude changes during voluntary jaw movement. RESULTS: DBS significantly improved the total UPDRS motor score by an average of 44%, which included improvement of 18 to 54% in the postural and orofacial items. DBS also decreased foot lift-off latency significantly, but it produced a variable response to the preparatory postural force in the swing limb. DBS significantly improved jaw-opening velocity by 14 to 50% and jaw opening amplitude by 5 to 41%. Significant correlations for the percentage change from off and on DBS occurred among a few UPDRS items and foot lift-off latency and jaw-opening velocities. CONCLUSION: DBS in either the globus pallidus internus or the subthalamic nucleus induces improvements in bradykinesia of specific components of postural and oromotor control, which also can be measured by the postural and orofacial UPDRS items. In some Parkinson's disease patients, DBS results in improvements in force or amplitude control, although these changes are not reflected in changes in UPDRS pastural and orofacial items. A battery of quantitative and clinical tests must be used to evaluate the effects of DBS on axial motor control adequately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-552
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Brain stimulation
  • Globus pallidus
  • Mastication
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Posture
  • Stereotactic surgery
  • Subthalamic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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