Background: Impaired generation of verbs relative to nouns has been reported in Parkinson's disease (PD) and has been associated with the frontal pathophysiology of PD. This study aimed to measure noun/verb generation abilities in PD and to determine whether noun/verb generation is affected by stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN).
Methods: Eight participants who had been diagnosed with PD and had received surgery for deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the STN as well as 15 control participants completed a noun/verb generation task with four probe-response conditions; namely noun-noun, verb-noun, noun-verb, and verb-verb conditions. PD participants were assessed whilst receiving STN stimulation and without stimulation.
Results: During the off stimulation condition, PD participants presented with a selective deficit in verb generation compared with control participants. However, when receiving STN stimulation, PD participants produced significantly more errors than controls during the noun-noun and verb-verb conditions. For PD participants, errors during verb generation were significantly correlated with item selection constraint (i.e., the degree to which a response competes with other response alternatives) in the on stimulation condition, but not the off stimulation condition.
Conclusions: STN stimulation modulates a frontotemporal network associated with word generation and affects the ability to select from many competing lexical alternatives during verb generation.
- action fluency
- inferior frontal gyrus
- prefrontal cortex
- verbal fluency
- word generation
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