Cortical magnetoencephalography of deep brain stimulation for the treatment of postural tremor

Allison T. Connolly, Jawad A. Bajwa, Matthew D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) on motor cortex circuitry in Essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson's disease (PD) patients are not well understood, in part, because most imaging modalities have difficulty capturing and localizing motor cortex dynamics on the same temporal scale as motor symptom expression. Here, we report on the use of magnetoencephalography (MEG) to characterize sources of postural tremor activity within the brain of an ET/PD patient and the effects of bilateral subthalamic nucleus DBS on these sources. Recordings were performed during unilateral and bilateral DBS at stimulation amplitudes of 0 V, 1 V, and 3 V corresponding to no therapy, subtherapeutic, and therapeutic configurations, respectively. Dipole source localization in reference to the postural tremor frequency recorded with electromyography (EMG) showed prominent sources in both right and left motor cortices when no therapy was provided. These sources dissipated as the amplitude of stimulation increased to a therapeutic level (P = 0.0062). Coherence peaks between the EMG and MEG recordings were seen at both 4 Hz, postural tremor frequency, and at 8 Hz, twice the tremor frequency, with no therapy. Both peaks were reduced with therapeutic DBS. These results demonstrate the capabilities of MEG to record cortical dynamics of tremor during deep brain stimulation and suggest that MEG could be used to examine DBS in the context of motor symptoms of PD and of ET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-624
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Research and Education Committee at United Hospital, Saint Paul, MN and the United Hospital Foundation for their funding support. We also thank Wenbo Zhang, Joel Landsteiner (Minnesota Epilepsy Group) and Filippo Agnesi (University of Minnesota) for their technical assistance.


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Essential tremor
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Parkinson's disease


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