Back to Journals » Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment » Volume 13

Effects of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation on emotional working memory capacity and mood in patients with Parkinson's disease

Authors Merkl A, Röck E, Schmitz-Hübsch T, Schneider G, Kühn AA

Received 2 November 2016

Accepted for publication 31 January 2017

Published 19 June 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1603—1611


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Angela Merkl,1,2 Eva Röck,1 Tanja Schmitz-Hübsch,1,3 Gerd-Helge Schneider,4 Andrea A Kühn1,3,5

1Department of Neurology, Charité – University Medicine Berlin, Campus Virchow Klinikum, 2Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité – University Medicine Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, 3NeuroCure, Charité – University Medicine Berlin, 4Department of Neurosurgery, Charité – University Medicine Berlin, Campus Virchow Klinikum, 5Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Charité – University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Background: In Parkinson’s disease (PD), cognitive symptoms and mood changes may be even more distressing for the patient than motor symptoms.
Objective: Our aim was to determine the effects of bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) on working memory (WM) and mood.
Methods: Sixteen patients with PD were assessed with STN-DBS switched on (DBS-ON) and with dopaminergic treatment (Med-ON) compared to switched off (DBS-OFF) and without dopaminergic treatment (Med-OFF). The primary outcome measures were a Visual Analog Mood Scale (VAMS) and an emotional 2-back WM task at 12 months after DBS in the optimal DBS-ON/Med-ON setting compared to DBS-OFF/Med-OFF.
Results: Comparison of DBS-OFF/Med-OFF to DBS-ON/Med-ON revealed a significant increase in alertness (meanoff/off =51.59±24.54; meanon/on =72.75; P=0.016) and contentedness (meanoff/off =38.73±24.41; meanon/on =79.01±17.66; P=0.001, n=16), and a trend for reduction in sedation (P=0.060), which was related to stimulation as shown in a subgroup of seven patients. The N-back task revealed a significant increase in accuracy with DBS-ON/Med-ON compared to DBS-OFF/Med-OFF (82.0% vs 76.0%, respectively) (P=0.044), regardless of stimulus valence.
Conclusion: In line with previous studies, we found that patients rated themselves subjectively as more alert, content, and less sedated during short-term DBS-ON. Accuracy in the WM task increased with the combination of DBS and medication, possibly related to higher alertness of the patients. Our results add to the currently mixed results described for DBS on WM and suggest that there are no deleterious DBS effects on this specific cognitive domain.

Keywords: deep brain stimulation, Parkinson’s disease, working memory, neuropsychiatric

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]