Reaction time is not impaired by stimulation of the ventral-intermediate nucleus of the thalamus (Vim) in patients with tremor

Authors

  • Didier Flament PhD,

    1. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA
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  • Mark B. Shapiro PhD,

    1. School of Kinesiology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
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  • Kerstin D. Pfann PhD,

    1. School of Kinesiology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
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  • Charity G. Moore PhD,

    1. Section of Biostatistics, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA
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  • Richard D. Penn MD,

    1. Department of Neurosurgery, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
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  • Daniel M. Corcos PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Kinesiology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
    2. Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA
    3. Department of Psychology and Department of Physical Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
    • School of Kinesiology (M/C 194), University of Illinois at Chicago, 901 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608
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Abstract

We studied the effect of high-frequency electrical stimulation of the ventral-intermediate nucleus of the thalamus (Vim) in four patients implanted with chronic stimulators to determine whether this procedure adversely affects reaction time to a proprioceptive stimulus. Two patients had undergone this surgery for treatment of tremor resulting from Parkinson's disease insufficiently responsive to levodopa therapy and two patients for treatment of essential tremor. Reaction times to auditory, visual, cutaneous, and proprioceptive stimuli were tested in a simple motor task requiring flexion of the elbow joint to a visual target in response to each stimulus. Reaction times were tested postoperatively with and without the stimulator turned on. We found that reaction time for all stimulus modalities was not increased when the stimulator was turned on; in fact, reaction times were, on average, slightly shorter during stimulation, but this difference was not statistically significant. We conclude that transmission of somatosensory inputs, necessary for initiating voluntary movement, from the periphery to the cortex is not significantly impaired by stimulation of the ventral-intermediate nucleus of the thalamus in patients with pathological tremor. © 2002 Movement Disorder Society

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