Deep brain stimulation improves movement amplitude but not hastening of repetitive finger movements

Elizabeth L. Stegemöller, Cindy Zadikoff, Joshua M. Rosenow, Colum D. MacKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


External pacing cues, dopaminergic medication, and bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) improve repetitive movements performed at low rates. When the pacing rate is increased to frequencies near 2. Hz and above, both external pacing cues and Parkinson's medication were shown to be ineffective at improving repetitive finger movement performance. It remains unclear if STN-DBS improves the performance of repetitive finger movements at high pacing rates. This study examined the effects of STN-DBS on the amplitude and rate of repetitive finger movement across a range of external pacing rates. Nine participants with STN-DBS (OFF and ON stimulation) and nine matched healthy adults performed repetitive index finger flexion movements paced by an acoustic tone that increased from 1.0 to 3.0. Hz. OFF stimulation, most subjects moved at rates that were substantially higher (hastening pattern) or lower (bradykinesia pattern) than the tone rate, particularly at high pacing rates. ON stimulation, movement rate improved in subjects with the bradykinesia pattern, but not in those with the hastening pattern. Overall, STN-DBS did not significantly affect movement rate. In contrast, STN-DBS significantly (p<0.05) improved movement amplitude across all pacing rates. These findings demonstrate that STN-DBS improves movement amplitude, but had no effect on the rate of movement in participants with a hastening pattern. Separately testing movement amplitude and movement rate using both high and low rate externally paced cues in the clinical environment may aid in the diagnosis and treatment of people with Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-139
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Sep 27 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Mr. Christopher Robinson and Mr. Di Zhang for their assistance with construction of the finger movement device. This study was funded by NIH Grant RO1 NS054199-01A1 .


  • Movement amplitude
  • Movement rate
  • Repetitive finger movement


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