11:28am Saturday 06 June 2020

Deep Brain Stimulation at Two Different Sites in Brain Improves Motor Function Comparably in Parkinson’s Disease

The findings are reported in the June 3, 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

When patients receive DBS for Parkinson’s, a neurosurgeon precisely guides a very fine wire into one of two regions deep in the brain, the subthalamic nucleus (STN) or the globus pallidus interna (GPi). It had been thought that STN DBS is more effective at controlling motor symptoms but more likely to aggravate non-motor symptoms. The new study – the largest most comprehensive study ever done of patients receiving bilateral STN DBS or GPi DBS – challenges that idea. Researchers concluded that motor outcomes between the two groups were not significantly different and there were very modest differences in mood and cognitive function between the two groups.

The multicenter team of researchers included Penn Medicine’s Matthew Stern, MD, director of Penn’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder clinic, professor of Neurology and one of the study’s lead investigators, Gordon Baltuch, professor of Neurosurgery, and Stacy Horn, DO, clinical assistant professor of Neurology. The study was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, with additional support from Medtronic Neurological, Inc., a manufacturer of DBS technology.

For more information on the study, please see the NINDS press release.

Reference:  Follett KA, Weaver FM et al.  “Subthalamic versus Pallidal Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease.” New England Journal of Medicine, June 3, 2010, Vol. 362 (22), pp. 2077-2091.



Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $3.6 billion enterprise. 

Penn’s School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools, and is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $367.2 million awarded in the 2008 fiscal year. 

Penn Medicine’s patient care facilities include:

Additional patient care facilities and services include Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse, a Philadelphia campus offering inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient care in many specialties; as well as a primary care provider network; a faculty practice plan; home care and hospice services; and several multispecialty outpatient facilities across the Philadelphia region.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2009, Penn Medicine provided $733.5 million to benefit our community.

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