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Does subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation really improve quality of life in Parkinson's disease?



We investigated the impact of subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) on quality of life (QOL) in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease, as self-assessed before and after surgery by completing the Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire (PDQ39). In addition to this prospective evaluation, we asked patients postoperatively to evaluate their preoperative QOL. In the prospective assessment, results showed that patients perceived a general improvement of QOL after the STN DBS. However, when evaluated retrospectively, they tended to overestimate their preoperative functioning, therefore obscuring the improvement found prospectively. This observation highlights the impact of the method used on obtained results when assessing the effects of STN DBS. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society