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Mechanisms of deep brain stimulation

Authors

  • Jonathan O. Dostrovsky PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physiology and Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Toronto Western Research Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Department of Physiology, Room 3305 Medical Sciences Building, 1 King's College Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Andres M. Lozano PhD

    1. Toronto Western Research Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

High frequency electrical stimulation by means of electrodes implanted into the brain (deep brain stimulation; DBS) recently has become an accepted technique for the treatment of several movement disorders and in particular for Parkinson's disease. Because the effects produced by DBS are similar to those produced by making a lesion in the same region, it has been proposed that the overall effect of DBS is to inhibit the neural activity in the region stimulated. However, whether this is actually the case is presently not known, but various mechanisms have been proposed in an attempt to explain how DBS could mimic the effects of a lesion. We describe the various mechanisms that have been proposed to account for the inhibition or disruption of the pathologic outflow by high-frequency DBS, ranging from depolarisation block to stimulation-evoked release of γ-aminobutyric acid and describes preliminary findings that show that stimulation within these structures can result in inhibition. © 2002 Movement Disorder Society

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