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Research paper
Low-frequency versus high-frequency stimulation of the pedunculopontine nucleus area in Parkinson's disease: a randomised controlled trial
  1. D Nosko1,2,3,
  2. M U Ferraye1,2,4,
  3. V Fraix1,2,3,
  4. L Goetz1,2,3,
  5. S Chabardès1,2,3,
  6. P Pollak1,2,3,5,
  7. B Debû1,2
  1. 1University of Grenoble, Grenoble, France
  2. 2INSERM, U836, Grenoble Institute of Neuroscience, Grenoble, France
  3. 3University Hospital of Grenoble, Grenoble, France
  4. 4Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  5. 5University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Murielle Ferraye, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, P.O. Box 9101, Nijmegen 6500 HB, The Netherlands; m.ferraye{at}


Objective To compare the influence of low-frequency (10–25 Hz) versus higher (60–80 Hz) frequency stimulation of the pedunculopontine nucleus area (PPNa) on akinaesia, freezing of gait and daytime sleepiness.

Method We included nine patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and severe gait disorders. In this double-blind randomised cross-over study, patients were assessed after 24 h of PPNa stimulation. Assessments included the motor part of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and a behavioural gait assessment.

Results Compared with 60–80 Hz, 10–25 Hz PPNa stimulation led to decreased akinaesia, gait difficulties and daytime sleepiness in 7/9 patients. In one patient, these symptoms were aggravated under 10–25 Hz stimulation compared with 60–80 Hz.

Conclusion These results are in keeping with the benefits of chronic PPNa stimulation for gait and postural difficulties in patients with PD, and with regard to the influence of patients' clinical characteristics, differential neuronal loss in the PPNa and electrode location. We conclude that in patients with PPNa stimulation, low frequency provides a better outcome than high-frequency stimulation.

  • Movement Disorders
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Gait
  • Neurosurgery

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