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    Dopa-resistant freezing of gait (FOG) and falls represent the dominant motor disabilities in advanced Parkinson's disease (PD). We investigate the effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR), comprised of the pedunculopontine (PPN) and cuneiform (CuN) nuclei, for treating gait and balance disorders, in a randomized double-blind cross-over trial. Six PD patients with dopa-resistant FOG and/or falls were operated for MLR-DBS. Patients received three DBS conditions, PPN, CuN, or Sham, in a randomized order for 2-months each, followed by an open-label phase. The primary outcome was the change in anteroposterior anticipatory-postural-adjustments (APAs) during gait initiation on a force platformResults:The anteroposterior APAs were not significantly different between the DBS conditions (median displacement [1st-3rd quartile] of 3.07 [3.12-4.62] cm with sham-DBS, 1.95 [2.29-3.85] cm with PPN-DBS and 2.78 [1.66-4.04] cm with CuN-DBS; p = 0.25). Step length and velocity were significantly higher with CuN-DBS vs. both sham-DBS and PPN-DBS. Conversely, step length and velocity were lower with PPN-DBS vs. sham-DBS, with greater double stance and gait initiation durations. One year after surgery, step length was significantly lower with PPN-DBS vs. inclusion. We did not find any significant change in clinical scales between DBS conditions or one year after surgery. Two months of PPN-DBS or CuN-DBS does not effectively improve clinically dopa-resistant gait and balance disorders in PD patients.


    Julie Bourilhon, Claire Olivier, Hana You, Antoine Collomb-Clerc, David Grabli, Hayat Belaid, Yannick Mullie, Chantal François, Virginie Czernecki, Brian Lau, Fernando Pérez-García, Eric Bardinet, Sara Fernandez-Vidal, Carine Karachi, Marie-Laure Welter. Pedunculopontine and Cuneiform Nuclei Deep Brain Stimulation for Severe Gait and Balance Disorders in Parkinson's Disease: Interim Results from a Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial. Journal of Parkinson's disease. 2022;12(2):639-653

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    PMID: 34744048

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