Anterior Thalamic Stimulation

Anterior Thalamic Stimulation

Deep brain stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT-DBS) is a novel and promising treatment method for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.

More than 70% of patients implanted with ANT-DBS benefit significantly from this method, i.e., they report seizure-reduction rates higher than 50%

The median percent seizure reduction from baseline at 1 year was 41%, and 69% at 5 years. The responder rate (≥50% reduction in seizure frequency) at 1 year was 43%, and 68% at 5 years. In the 5 years of follow-up, 16% of subjects were seizure-free for at least 6 months. There were no reported unanticipated adverse device effects or symptomatic intracranial hemorrhages. The Liverpool Seizure Severity Scale and 31-item Quality of Life in Epilepsy measure showed statistically significant improvement over baseline by 1 year and at 5 years (p < 0.001).

Long-term follow-up of ANT deep brain stimulation showed sustained efficacy and safety in a treatment-resistant population.

Classification of evidence: This long-term follow-up provides Class IV evidence that for patients with drug-resistant partial epilepsy, anterior thalamic stimulation is associated with a 69% reduction in seizure frequency and a 34% serious device-related adverse event rate at 5 years. 1).

When focusing on the adverse events reported in a study of stimulation of the anterior nuclei of thalamus (SANTE study), the patients reported paresthesia (18% patients), pain in the implant side (10.9% patients), and infection at the implant site (9.1% patients) 2)

Sobstyl et al. performed a literature search regarding the clinical efficacy of ANT DBS. They discussed the surgical technique of the implantation of DBS electrodes with special attention paid to the targeting methods of the ANT. Moreover, they present in detail the clinical efficacy of ANT DBS, with a special emphasis on the stimulation parameters, a stimulation mode, and polarity. They also report all adverse events and present the current limitations of ANT DBS.

In general, the safety profile of DBS in intractable epilepsy patients is good, with a low rate of surgery, hardware-related, and stimulation-induced adverse events. No significant cognitive declines or worsening of depressive symptoms was noted. At long-term follow-up, the quality-of-life scores have improved. The limitations of ANT DBS studies include a limited number of patients treated and mostly open-label designs with only one double-blind, randomized multicenter trial. Most studies do not report the etiology of intractable epilepsy or they include nonhomogeneous groups of patients affected by intractable epilepsy. There are no guidelines for setting initial stimulation parameters. All the variables mentioned may have a profound impact on the final outcome.

ANT DBS appears to be a safe and efficacious treatment, particularly in patients with refractory partial seizures (three-quarters of patients gained at least 50% seizure reduction after 5 years). ANT DBS reduces most effectively the seizures originating in the temporal and frontal lobes. The published results of ANT DBS highlight promise and hope for patients with intractable epilepsy 3).


A literature review discusses the rationale, mechanism of action, clinical efficacy, safety, and tolerability of ANT-DBS in drug-resistant epilepsy patients. A review using systematic methods of the available literature was performed using relevant databases including Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Library pertaining to the different aspects ANT-DBS. ANT-DBS for drug-resistant epilepsy is a safe, effective and well-tolerated therapy, where a special emphasis must be given to monitoring and neuropsychological assessment of both depression and memory function. Three patterns of seizure control by ANT-DBS are recognized, of which a delayed stimulation effect may account for an improved long-term response rate. ANT-DBS remotely modulates neuronal network excitability through overriding pathological electrical activity, decrease neuronal cell loss, through immune response inhibition or modulation of neuronal energy metabolism. ANT-DBS is an efficacious treatment modality, even when curative procedures or lesser invasive neuromodulative techniques failed. When compared to VNS, ANT-DBS shows slightly superior treatment response, which urges for direct comparative trials. Based on the available evidence ANT-DBS and VNS therapies are currently both superior compared to non-invasive neuromodulation techniques such as t-VNS and rTMS. Additional in-vivo research is necessary in order to gain more insight into the mechanism of action of ANT-DBS in localization-related epilepsy which will allow for treatment optimization. Randomized clinical studies in search of the optimal target in well-defined epilepsy patient populations, will ultimately allow for optimal patient stratification when applying DBS for drug-resistant patients with epilepsy 4).

Bilateral ANT electrodes were implanted into 18 patients suffering from focal, pharmacoresistant epilepsy. Antiepileptic treatment was kept unchanged from three months prior to operation. The Liverpool seizure severity scale (LSSS) was used to measure the burden of epilepsy.

Results: There was no significant difference between the 2 groups at the end of the blinded period at 6 months. However, when considering all patients and comparing 6 months of stimulation with baseline, there was a significant, 22% reduction in the frequency of all seizures (P = 0.009). Four patients had ≥50% reduction in total seizure frequency and 5 patients ≥50% reduction in focal seizures after 6 months of stimulation. No increased effect over time was shown. LSSS at 6 months compared to baseline showed no significant difference between the 2 groups, but a small, significant reduction in LSSS was found when all patients had received stimulation for 6 months.

Conclusions: Our study supports results from earlier studies concerning DBS as a safe treatment option, with effects even in patients with severe, refractory epilepsy. However, our results are not as encouraging as those reported from many other, mainly unblinded, and open studies 5).

A case of relapsing herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) as a newly reported and potentially fatal stimulation-related adverse effect following stimulation of the anterior thalamic nucleus (ANT-DBS) accompanied by fever, confusion, and cognitive impairment in a 32-year-old epileptic patient with a history of herpes meningoencephalitis 31 years earlier. The T2-weighted/FLAIR high-signal intensity in the temporal lobe developed at a “distance” from the stimulation target. The positive polymerase chain reaction of herpes virus deoxyribonucleic acid in the cerebrospinal fluid confirmed the diagnosis. The condition improved partially on acyclovir and stimulation stopped. Seizures disappeared and then returned after few months. The unique case report presents a rationale for considering history of herpes encephalitis as a relative contraindication for ANT-DBS, and HSE relapse should be suspected in patients with post-stimulation fever and/or altered consciousness 6).


1)

Salanova V, Witt T, Worth R, Henry TR, Gross RE, Nazzaro JM, Labar D, Sperling MR, Sharan A, Sandok E, Handforth A, Stern JM, Chung S, Henderson JM, French J, Baltuch G, Rosenfeld WE, Garcia P, Barbaro NM, Fountain NB, Elias WJ, Goodman RR, Pollard JR, Tröster AI, Irwin CP, Lambrecht K, Graves N, Fisher R; SANTE Study Group. Long-term efficacy and safety of thalamic stimulation for drug-resistant partial epilepsy. Neurology. 2015 Mar 10;84(10):1017-25. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001334. Epub 2015 Feb 6. PMID: 25663221; PMCID: PMC4352097.
2)

Fisher R, Salanova V, Witt T, Worth R, Henry T, Gross R, Oommen K, Osorio I, Nazzaro J, Labar D, Kaplitt M, Sperling M, Sandok E, Neal J, Handforth A, Stern J, DeSalles A, Chung S, Shetter A, Bergen D, Bakay R, Henderson J, French J, Baltuch G, Rosenfeld W, Youkilis A, Marks W, Garcia P, Barbaro N, Fountain N, Bazil C, Goodman R, McKhann G, Babu Krishnamurthy K, Papavassiliou S, Epstein C, Pollard J, Tonder L, Grebin J, Coffey R, Graves N; SANTE Study Group. Electrical stimulation of the anterior nucleus of thalamus for treatment of refractory epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2010 May;51(5):899-908. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2010.02536.x. Epub 2010 Mar 17. PMID: 20331461.
3)

Sobstyl M, Stapińska-Syniec A, Iwański S, Rylski M. Clinical Efficacy and Safety Profile of Anterior Thalamic Stimulation for Intractable Epilepsy. J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg. 2021 Jun 14. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1725954. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34126641.
4)

Bouwens van der Vlis TAM, Schijns OEMG, Schaper FLWVJ, Hoogland G, Kubben P, Wagner L, Rouhl R, Temel Y, Ackermans L. Deep brain stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus for drug-resistant epilepsy. Neurosurg Rev. 2019 Jun;42(2):287-296. doi: 10.1007/s10143-017-0941-x. Epub 2018 Jan 6. PMID: 29306976; PMCID: PMC6502776.
5)

Herrman H, Egge A, Konglund AE, Ramm-Pettersen J, Dietrichs E, Taubøll E. Anterior thalamic deep brain stimulation in refractory epilepsy: A randomized, double-blinded study. Acta Neurol Scand. 2019 Mar;139(3):294-304. doi: 10.1111/ane.13047. Epub 2018 Dec 11. PMID: 30427061.
6)

Hamdi H, Robin E, Stahl JP, Doche E, Azulay JP, Chabardes S, Bartolomei F, Regis J. Anterior Thalamic Stimulation Induced Relapsing Encephalitis. Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2019;97(2):132-136. doi: 10.1159/000499072. Epub 2019 May 3. PMID: 31055582.

Intraoperative direct electrocortical stimulation for glioma surgery

see also Awake surgery for glioma.

see also Resting-state functional magnetic resonance for glioma surgery.


Stimulation-induced seizures (SISs) are rare but serious events during electrocortical stimulation (ECS) mapping. SISs are most common when mapping the frontal lobe. Greater stimulation current is not associated with the identification of more cortical functional sites during glioma surgery 1).


Glioma surgery represents a significant advance with respect to improving resection rates using new surgical techniques, including intraoperative functional mappingmonitoring, and imaging. Functional mapping under awake craniotomy can be used to detect individual eloquent tissues of speech and/or motor functions in order to prevent unexpected deficits and promote extensive resection. In addition, monitoring the patient’s neurological findings during resection is also very useful for maximizing the removal rate and minimizing deficits by alarming that the touched area is close to eloquent regions and fibers. Assessing several types of evoked potentials, including motor evoked potentials (MEPs), sensory evoked potentials (SEPs), and visual evoked potentials (VEPs), is also helpful for performing surgical monitoring in patients under general anesthesia (GA) 2).


The greater extent of resection (EOR) of low-grade gliomas is associated with improved survival. Proximity to eloquent cortical regions often limits resectability and elevates the risk of surgery-related deficits. Therefore, functional localization of eloquent cortex or subcortical fiber tracts can enhance the EOR and functional outcomeImaging techniques such as functional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging fiber tracking, and neurophysiological methods like navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation and magnetoencephalography, make it possible to identify eloquent areas prior to resective surgery and to tailor indication and surgical approach but also to assess the surgical risk. Intraoperative monitoring with direct cortical stimulation and subcortical stimulation enables surgeons to preserve essential functional tissue during surgery. Through tailored, pre-and intraoperative mapping and monitoring the EOR can be maximized, with reduced rates of surgery-related deficits 3).


As the most accurate and reliable method of brain functional area positioning, Intraoperative direct electrocortical stimulation is able to determine in real-time the parts of the brain necessary for such functions as movementsensationlanguage, and even memory. A meta-analysis suggested that it could also improve the degree of resection of glioma while reducing the incidence of permanent neurological dysfunction 4).


Findings suggest that surgeons using Intraoperative direct electrocortical stimulation and awake craniotomy during their resections of high-grade glioma in eloquent areas experienced better surgical outcomes: a significantly longer overall postoperative survival, a lower rate of postoperative complications, and a higher percentage of GTR 5).


Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging likely reflects similar neural information as detected with intraoperative direct electrocortical stimulation (DES), but in its current form does not reach the spatial resolution of DES. 6).


1)

Muster RH, Young JS, Woo PYM, Morshed RA, Warrier G, Kakaizada S, Molinaro AM, Berger MS, Hervey-Jumper SL. The Relationship Between Stimulation Current and Functional Site Localization During Brain Mapping. Neurosurgery. 2021 May 13;88(6):1043-1050. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyaa364. PMID: 33289525; PMCID: PMC8117445.
2)

Saito T, Muragaki Y, Maruyama T, Tamura M, Nitta M, Okada Y. Intraoperative Functional Mapping and Monitoring during Glioma Surgery. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2015;55 Suppl 1:1-13. PMID: 26236798.
3)

Ottenhausen M, Krieg SM, Meyer B, Ringel F. Functional preoperative and intraoperative mapping and monitoring: increasing safety and efficacy in glioma surgery. Neurosurg Focus. 2015 Jan;38(1):E3. doi: 10.3171/2014.10.FOCUS14611. PMID: 25552283.
4)

De Witt Hamer PC, Robles SG, Zwinderman AH, Duffau H, Berger MS. Impact of intraoperative stimulation brain mapping on glioma surgery outcome: a meta-analysis. J Clin Oncol. 2012;30:2559–2565. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.38.4818.
5)

Gerritsen JKW, Arends L, Klimek M, Dirven CMF, Vincent AJE. Impact of intraoperative stimulation mapping on high-grade glioma surgery outcome: a meta-analysis. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2019 Jan;161(1):99-107. doi: 10.1007/s00701-018-3732-4. Epub 2018 Nov 21. PMID: 30465276; PMCID: PMC6331492.
6)

van Lieshout J, Debaene W, Rapp M, Noordmans HJ, Rutten GJ. fMRI Resting-State Connectivity between Language and Nonlanguage Areas as Defined by Intraoperative Electrocortical Stimulation in Low-Grade Glioma Patients. J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg. 2021 Feb 22. doi: 10.1055/s-0040-1721757. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33618418.

Deep brain stimulation for Meige syndrome

Deep brain stimulation for Meige syndrome

A well-established therapeutic option is deep brain stimulation (DBS), and the target in bilateral globus pallidus internus (GPi DBS) demonstrated satisfactory short- and long-term efficacy. However, some patients present minor or suboptimal responses after GPi DBS, and in those cases, rescue DBS may be appropriate 1).


A retrospective study to assess the efficacy and safety of bilateral GPi stimulation in 40 patients with primary Meige syndrome who responded poorly to medical treatments or botulinum toxin injections. All participants were postoperatively followed up at the outpatient clinic, and their motor functions were assessed using the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale (BFMDRS). The severity of patients’ dystonia was evaluated before surgery and at follow-up neurostimu-lation.

Results: The implanted stimulator was turned on 1 month after surgery. All 40 patients received monopolar stimulation using the following parameters: voltage 2.5-3.5 V (average: 2.6 ± 0.8 V), frequency 60-160 Hz (average: 88.0 ± 21.3 Hz), and pulse width 60-185 μS (average: 90.0 ± 21.1 μS). In 28 of 40 patients, the symptoms had signifi-cantly improved within 1 week of stimulation. Most of the patients had been followed up for 6-24 months (average: 15.0 ± 7.8 months). The clinical symptoms of all patients had significantly improved. At 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery, the BFMDRS subscores of eyes, mouth, speech, and swallowing were significantly lower, and subscores of mouth movement showed progressively decreased with prolonged stimulation time. The overall improvement rate was 83%. Five adverse events occurred in the 40 patients; all of these events resolved without permanent sequelae.

Bilateral GPi-DBS demonstrated satisfactory long-term efficacy in the treatment of primary Meige syndrome and could serve as an effective and safe option 2).


A study explored the predictors of clinical outcome in patients with Meige syndrome who underwent DBS.

Twenty patients who underwent DBS targeting the bilateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) or globus pallidus internus (GPi) at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Hospital from August 2013 to February 2018 were enrolled in the study. Their clinical outcomes were evaluated using the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale at baseline and at the follow-up visits; patients were accordingly divided into a good-outcome group and a poor-outcome group. Putative influential factors, such as age and course of disease, were examined separately, and the factors that reached statistical significance were subjected to logistic regression analysis to identify predictors of clinical outcomes.

Four factors showed significant differences between the good- and poor-outcome groups: 1) the DBS target (STN vs GPi); 2) whether symptoms first appeared at multiple sites or at a single site; 3) the sub-item scores of the mouth at baseline; and 4) the follow-up period (p < 0.05). Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that initial involvement of multiple sites and the mouth score were the only significant predictors of clinical outcome.

The severity of the disease in the initial stage and presurgical period was the only independent predictive factor of the clinical outcomes of DBS for the treatment of patients with Meige syndrome 3).


A total of 6 patients seen between 2002 and 2010 with craniofacial and craniocervical dystonia symptoms were identified from the University of Florida Institutional Review Board approved database. Patients were videotaped using a standardized protocol, and tapes were randomized and blindly reviewed by a movement disorders neurologist. The Unified Dystonia Rating Scale improved 31.6 ± 23.2% (range: 3.4-63.2%) at 6 months and 63.7 ± 35.3% (range: 6.3-100%) at 12 months. The Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale improved 45.3 ± 29.5% (range: 4.7-75.0%) at 6 months and 61.8 ± 30.9% (range: 16.6-100%) at 12 months. One patient significantly had a very large improvement with little evidence of residual dystonia. Blepharospasm improved in all patients, whereas speech and swallowing did not improve in this cohort. Two patients improved with unilateral GPi-DBS, although one required a contralateral DBS later in the disease course. Two patients were managed with low-frequency stimulation (<100 Hz). Two patients had less than 20% benefit. GPi-DBS for cranio-facial and craniocervical symptoms is an effective strategy to manage a subset of patients who remain unresponsive to optimized medical management. Unilateral stimulation may be an option for some patients, but it remains unclear whether response to single-sided stimulation will be sustainable. The mixed results of this GPi-DBS case series highlight the need for a careful re-examination of selection criteria, alternative brain targets, and possibly rescue leads for patients who are non-responders to the GPi target 4).


Lyons report the long-term results of bilateral globus pallidus internus (GPi) or subthalamic nucleus (STN) stimulation in 3 patients with Meige syndrome and 1 patient with Parkinson’s disease and associated craniofacial dystonia treated at their center.

Initial 12-month and long-term follow-up Burke-Fahn-Marsden scores were substantially improved in all 4 patients compared with preoperative scores.

Bilateral GPi DBS may be an effective and safe treatment for medically refractory Meige syndrome. The results are comparable with those reported in the literature. Sustained and long-term improvement in symptoms does appear to be reproducible across reports. The authors’ patient with Parkinson’s disease and associated craniofacial dystonia syndrome undergoing bilateral STN DBS noted immediate and sustained improvement in his symptoms. Further study is required, but these results, along with the other reports, suggest that bilateral GPi DBS is an effective treatment for medically refractory Meige syndrome 5).


Sobstyl M, Ząbek M, Mossakowski Z, Zaczyński A. Pallidal deep brain stimulation in the treatment of Meige syndrome. Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2014;48(3):196-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pjnns.2014.05.008. Epub 2014 Jun 6. PubMed PMID: 24981184.


1)

Aragão VT, Barbosa Casagrande SC, Listik C, Teixeira MJ, Barbosa ER, Cury RG. Rescue Subthalamic Deep Brain Stimulation for Refractory Meige Syndrome. Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2021 Apr 23:1-3. doi: 10.1159/000515722. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33895729.
2)

Tian H, Yu Y, Zhen X, Zhang L, Yuan Y, Zhang B, Wang L. Long-Term Efficacy of Deep Brain Stimulation of Bilateral Globus Pallidus Internus in Primary Meige Syndrome. Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2019;97(5-6):356-361. doi: 10.1159/000504861. Epub 2020 Jan 10. PMID: 31927550.
3)

Wang X, Mao Z, Cui Z, Xu X, Pan L, Liang S, Ling Z, Yu X. Predictive factors for long-term clinical outcomes of deep brain stimulation in the treatment of primary Meige syndrome. J Neurosurg. 2019 Apr 5:1-9. doi: 10.3171/2019.1.JNS182555. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30952124.
4)

Limotai N, Go C, Oyama G, Hwynn N, Zesiewicz T, Foote K, Bhidayasiri R, Malaty I, Zeilman P, Rodriguez R, Okun MS. Mixed results for GPi-DBS in the treatment of cranio-facial and cranio-cervical dystonia symptoms. J Neurol. 2011 Nov;258(11):2069-74. doi: 10.1007/s00415-011-6075-0. Epub 2011 May 7. PMID: 21553081.
5)

Lyons MK, Birch BD, Hillman RA, Boucher OK, Evidente VG. Long-term follow-up of deep brain stimulation for Meige syndrome. Neurosurg Focus. 2010 Aug;29(2):E5. doi: 10.3171/2010.4.FOCUS1067. PMID: 20672922.
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