Unilateral pallidotomy is thought to have a low risk for cognitive morbidity. Nonetheless, recent research suggests that some patients experience declines in memory and language and that pallidal stimulation might be a safer treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD). We investigated the neurobehavioral effects of unilateral pallidal stimulation. Nine consecutive PD patients undergoing unilateral deep brain-stimulating electrode implantation in the globus pallidus interna were evaluated with a neuropsychological test battery approximately 1 month before and 3 months after surgery. Patients reported significantly fewer symptoms of anxiety and greater vigor after surgery. There was a trend toward fewer depressive symptoms. Semantic verbal fluency and visuoconstructional test scores declined significantly after surgery. However, among five patients showing declines in semantic verbal fluency, only one patient's score declined by more than 2 SD. No patient showed significant decline or improvement in the overall level of cognitive functioning. This study supports the relative safety, in terms of cognitive function, of unilateral pallidal stimulation in PD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology