Deep brain stimulation at variable frequency to improve motor outcomes in parkinson’s disease


Congratulations Drs. Shukla, Hu, Almeida, and Okun on the publication of “Deep brain stimulation at variable frequency to improve motor outcomes in parkinson’s disease,” in the July issue of Movement Disorders Clinical Practice.



Deep brain stimulation (DBS) with high frequency (HFS) is a well‐established therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, low frequency DBS (LFS) may control axial symptoms including freezing of gait (FOG). We conducted a pilot, safety and feasibility study to examine if a novel DBS paradigm of variable frequency stimulation (VFS) that combined HFS and LFS would capture a broader set of motor symptoms.


Four PD subjects with bilateral STN DBS and FOG were enrolled. A UPDRS III and 10m timed up and go (TUG) task were performed off medications‐off DBS and then one hour after HFS and one hour after VFS programming.


The UPDRS III motor score improved by additional 14% during VFS setting when compared to HFS. VFS also increased gait speed (mean change 45%) and reduced the number of freezing episodes (mean change 58%).


VFS improves UPDRS and FOG in PD when compared to HFS.

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