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Free Content Effect of low and high frequency thalamic stimulation on sleep in patients with Parkinson's disease and essential tremor

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Continuous high frequency stimulation of the ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus (Vim), delivered through surgically implanted quadripolar electrodes, alleviates tremor in Parkinson's disease (PD) and essential tremor (ET). The Vim is adjacent to the thalamic reticular nuclei, where sleep spindles originate according to animal models. In order to determine whether Vim stimulation affects sleep spindles, six patients (4 PD, 2 ET), aged 60–69 years, were recorded on a control night and a stimulation night (130 Hz, 2–3 V; right stimulation in five patients and bilateral stimulation in one patient). Stimulation did not modify sleep quality or architecture. Sleep spindles were present and symmetrical in five out of six patients under stimulation. However, in one patient with a sustained ‘thalamotomy-like effect’ that abolished tremor, spindles were asymmetrical even without stimulation. In each patient, spindle density was similar on both nights (mean± SEM: 2.25±0.61 spindles per min of stage 2 sleep vs. 1.84±0.31). In an attempt to promote sleep two different patterns of stimulation were applied in the region of ventrooralis posterior and reticularis nuclei in five patients in the awake state. Continuous low frequency stimulation (5 Hz, 0.1 V), and repeated trains of 15 Hz for 1 s every 15 s mimicking the pattern of physiological spindles, each failed to induce sleep or cortical synchronization. We conclude that Vim stimulation, unlike thalamotomy, selectively reduces tremor without altering sleep or sleep spindles. Our results also suggest that low frequency stimulation applied in the region of the reticular nuclei does not induce sleep.
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Keywords: deep brain stimulation; sleep; spindles; thalamus; ventral intermediate nucleus

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre d’Investigation Clinique, Fédération de Neurologie and INSERM U 289, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France 2: Service d’Explorations Fonctionnelles du Système Nerveux et Unité de Sommeil, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France 3: Service de Neuroradiologie, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France 4: Service de Neurochirurgie, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France 5: UPRESS EA 2397, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France

Publication date: 2000-03-01

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