JOURNAL ARTICLE

Alternating verbal fluency performance following bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease

D F Marshall, A M Strutt, A E Williams, R K Simpson, J Jankovic, M K York
European Journal of Neurology 2012, 19 (12): 1525-31
22632922

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Despite common occurrences of verbal fluency declines following bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD), alternating fluency measures using cued and uncued paradigms have not been evaluated.

METHODS: Twenty-three STN-DBS patients were compared with 20 non-surgical PD patients on a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment, including cued and uncued intradimensional (phonemic/phonemic and semantic/semantic) and extradimensional (phonemic/semantic) alternating fluency measures at baseline and 6-month follow-up.

RESULTS: STN-DBS patients demonstrated a greater decline on the cued phonemic/phonemic fluency and the uncued phonemic/semantic fluency tasks compared to the PD patients. For STN-DBS patients, verbal learning and information processing speed accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in declines in alternating phonemic/phonemic and phonemic/semantic fluency scores, respectively, whilst only naming was related to uncued phonemic/semantic performance for the PD patients. Both groups were aided by cueing for the extradimensional task at baseline and follow-up, and the PD patients were also aided by cueing for the phonemic/phonemic task on follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that changes in alternating fluency are not related to disease progression alone as STN-DBS patients demonstrated greater declines over time than the PD patients, and this change was related to declines in information processing speed.

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