Clinical implications of local field potentials for understanding and treating movement disorders

John A. Thompson, David Lanctin, Nuri Firat Ince, Aviva Abosch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of movement disorders has provided researchers with an opportunity to record electrical oscillatory activity from electrodes implanted in deep brain structures. Extracellular activity recorded from a population of neurons, termed local field potentials (LFPs), has shed light on the pathophysiology of movement disorders and holds the potential to lead to refinement in existing treatments. Objective: This paper reviews the clinical significance of LFPs recorded from macroelectrodes implanted in basal ganglia and thalamic targets for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and dystonia. Methods: Neural population dynamics and subthreshold events, which are undetectable by single-unit recordings, can be examined with frequency band analysis of LFPs (frequency range: 1-250 Hz). Results: Of clinical relevance, reliable correlations between motor symptoms and components of the LFP power spectrum suggest that LFPs may serve as a biomarker for movement disorders. In particular, Parkinson's rigidity has been shown to correlate with the power of beta oscillations (13-30 Hz), and essential tremor coheres with oscillations of 8-27 Hz. Furthermore, evidence indicates that the optimal contacts for DBS programming can be predicted from the anatomic location of beta and gamma bands (48-200 Hz). Conclusion: LFP analysis has implications for improved electrode targeting and the development of a real-time, individualized, 'closed-loop' stimulation system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalStereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 17 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Dystonia
  • Essential tremor
  • Local field potentials
  • Parkinson's disease


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