Patients who received deep brain stimulation (DBS) experienced comparable benefits for the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease when DBS was delivered at either of two sites in the brain, contrary to the current belief that DBS has different motor effects when delivered at either of the two sites. 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, Penn neurologists John Duda, MD and Stacy Horn, DO. 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 Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

Share This Page: