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Galazky, Imke; Kaufmann, Jörn; Lorenzl, Stefan; Ebersbach, Georg; Gandor, Florin; Zaehle, Tino; Specht, Sylke; Stallforth, Sabine; Sobieray, Uwe; Wirkus, Edyta; Casjens, Franziska; Heinze, Hans-Jochen; Kupsch, Andreas and Voges, Jürgen (2018): Deep brain stimulation of the pedunculopontine nucleus for treatment of gait and balance disorder in progressive supranuclear palsy: Effects of frequency modulations and clinical outcome. In: Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, Vol. 50: pp. 81-86

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Background: The pedunculopontine nucleus has been suggested as a potential deep brain stimulation target for axial symptoms such as gait and balance impairment in idiopathic Parkinson's disease as well as atypical Parkinsonian disorders. Methods: Seven consecutive patients with progressive supranuclear palsy received bilateral pedunculopontine nucleus deep brain stimulation. Inclusion criteria comprised of the clinical diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy, a levodopa-resistant gait and balance disorder, age <75 years, and absence of dementia or major psychiatric co-morbidities. Effects of stimulation frequencies at 8, 20, 60 and 130 Hz on motor scores and gait were assessed. Motor scores were followed up for two years postoperatively. Activities of daily living, frequency of falls, health related quality of life, cognition and mood at 12 months were compared to baseline parameters. Surgical and stimulation related adverse events were assessed. Results: Bilateral pedunculopontine nucleus deep brain stimulation at 8 Hz significantly improved axial motor symptoms and cyclic gait parameters, while high frequency stimulation did not ameliorate gait and balance but improved hypokinesia. This improvement however did not translate into clinically relevant benefits. Frequency of falls was not reduced. Activities of daily living, quality of life and frontal cognitive functions declined, while mood remained unchanged. Conclusion: Bilateral pedunculopontine nucleus deep brain stimulation in progressive supranuclear palsy generates frequency-dependent effects with improvement of cyclic gait parameters at low frequency and amelioration of hypokinesia at high frequency stimulation. However, these effects do not translate into a clinically important improvement.

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