Motion sensor strategies for automated optimization of deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's disease

Christopher L. Pulliam, Dustin A. Heldman, Tseganesh H. Orcutt, Thomas O. Mera, Joseph P. Giuffrida, Jerrold L. Vitek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a well-established treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD). Optimization of DBS settings can be a challenge due to the number of variables that must be considered, including presence of multiple motor signs, side effects, and battery life. Methods: Nine PD subjects visited the clinic for programming at approximately 1, 2, and 4 months post-surgery. During each session, various stimulation settings were assessed and subjects performed motor tasks while wearing a motion sensor to quantify tremor and bradykinesia. At the end of each session, a clinician determined final stimulation settings using standard practices. Sensor-based ratings of motor symptom severities collected during programming were then used to develop two automated programming algorithms - one to optimize symptom benefit and another to optimize battery life. Therapeutic benefit was compared between the final clinician-determined DBS settings and those calculated by the automated algorithm. Results: Settings determined using the symptom optimization algorithm would have reduced motor symptoms by an additional 13 percentage points when compared to clinician settings, typically at the expense of increased stimulation amplitude. By adding a battery life constraint, the algorithm would have been able to decrease stimulation amplitude by an average of 50% while maintaining the level of therapeutic benefit observed using clinician settings for a subset of programming sessions. Conclusions: Objective assessment in DBS programming can identify settings that improve symptoms or obtain similar benefit as clinicians with improvement in battery life. Both options have the potential to improve post-operative patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-382
Number of pages5
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grant number R44AG033520 from the National Institute on Aging . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH/NIA.


  • Bradykinesia
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Outpatient programming
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Tremor

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