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Review Article

Cognitive Changes following Bilateral Deep Brain Stimulation of Subthalamic Nucleus in Parkinson's Disease: A Meta-Analysis


Background. Nowadays, it has been largely acknowledged that deep brain stimulation of subthalamic nucleus (STN DBS) can alleviate motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, but its effects on cognitive function remain unclear, which are not given enough attention by many clinical doctors and researchers. To date, 3 existing meta-analyses focusing on this issue included self-control studies and have not drawn consistent conclusions. The present study is the first to compare effect sizes of primary studies that include control groups, hoping to reveal the net cognitive outcomes after STN DBS and the clinical significance. Methods. A structured literature search was conducted using strict criteria. Only studies with control group could be included. Data on age, duration of disease, levodopa equivalent dosage (LED), and multiple cognitive scales were collected and pooled. Results. Of 172 articles identified, 10 studies (including 3 randomized controlled trials and 7 nonrandomized controlled studies) were eligible for inclusion. The results suggest that STN DBS results in decreased global cognition, memory, verbal fluency, and executive function compared with control group. No significant difference is found in other cognitive domains. Conclusions. STN DBS seems relatively safe with respect to cognitive function, and further studies should focus on the exact mechanisms of possible verbal deterioration after surgery in the future.