Decision Making Journal Club

Exploring the deep brain with deep brain stimulation surgery

Deep brain stimulation surgery (DBS) has been developed over the past few decades to treat a variety of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and dystonia amongst others. As a by-product, the surgery has offered opportunities to study the motor and cognitive function of deep brain structures in human subjects by allowing micro- and macroelectrode recordings of deep brain nuclei, and comparison of behavioural responses during a variety of tasks with stimulation turned on and off. We present 2 examples of experiments conducted in Oxford on DBS patients: the first is local field potential responses from 3 patients with chronic pain from bilateral dorsal anterior cingulate cortex whilst the subjects perform a cognitive task. The second is a saccade task performed in subjects on and off stimulation of the STN that offers some insight into the role of the STN. Future potential applications of DBS will be described to promote discussion about potential research opportunities.