Serendipitous Stimulation of Nucleus Basalis of Meynert—The Effect of Unintentional, Long-Term High-Frequency Stimulation on Cognition in Parkinson’s Disease

I. Daria Bogdan, D. L. Marinus Oterdoom, Teus van Laar, Rients B. Huitema, Vincent J. Odekerken, Judith A. Boel, Rob M. A. de Bie, J. Marc C. van Dijk

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There is a growing interest in deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM) as a potential therapeutic modality for Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD). Lowfrequency stimulation has yielded encouraging results in individual patients; however, these are not yet sustained in larger studies. With the aim to expand the understanding of NBM-DBS, we share our experience with serendipitous NBM-DBS in patients treated with DBS of the internal Globus pallidus (GPi) for Parkinson’s disease. Since NBM is anatomically located ventral to GPi, several GPi-treated patients appeared to have the distal contact of DBS-electrode(s) positioned in the NBM. We hypothesized that unintentional high-frequency NBM-DBS over a period of one year would result in the opposite effect of low-frequency NBM-stimulation and cause cognitive decline. We studied a cohort of 33 patients with bilateral high-frequency DBS in the GPi for Parkinson’s disease, of which twelve were unintentionally co-stimulated in NBM. The subgroups of unintentional unilateral (N = 7) and bilateral NBM-DBS (N = 5) were compared to the control group of bilateral GPi-DBS (N = 11). Here, we show that unintentional high-frequency NBM-DBS did not cause a significantly faster decline in cognitive function. Further research is warranted for characterizing the therapeutic role of NBM-DBS.
Original languageEnglish
Article number337
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Cognitive function
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease dementia

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