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Effects of unilateral subthalamic deep brain stimulation on contralateral arm sequential movements in Parkinson’s disease
  1. R Agostino,
  2. L Dinapoli,
  3. N Modugno,
  4. E Iezzi,
  5. P Romanelli,
  6. A Berardelli
  1. Department of Neurological Sciences and Neuromed Institute, “La Sapienza” University of Rome, Italy
  1. Prof. Alfredo Berardelli, Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurological Sciences and Neuromed Institute, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Viale dell’Universitè, 30, 00185 Rome, Italy; alfredo.berardelli{at}


In Parkinson’s disease, unilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), unlike bilateral stimulation, excludes ipsilateral confounding effects so that the contralateral effects of DBS on motor performance can be investigated alone.

Because no kinematic study has yet investigated how unilateral STN-DBS affects the performance of a contralateral fast sequential motor act, we performed a kinematic analysis of the movement duration, switching time and spatial accuracy of a motor arm sequence in 10 parkinsonian patients. Patients were studied without dopaminergic therapy and when they were OFF and ON unilateral STN-DBS.

We found that unilateral STN-DBS significantly improved movement time of a motor sequence and the switching time from one sequential step to the next, whereas accuracy deteriorated.

We conclude that unilateral STN-DBS improves the performance of contralateral sequential arm movements in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • DBS
  • movement studies

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  • Competing interests: None declared.