Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Importance: Deep brain stimulation of the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM DBS) has been proposed as a treatment option for Parkinson disease dementia. Objective: To evaluate the safety and potential symptomatic effects of NBM DBS in patients with Parkinson disease dementia. Design, Setting, and Participants: A randomized, double-blind, crossover clinical trial evaluated the results of 6 patients with Parkinson disease dementia who were treated with NBM DBS at a neurosurgical referral center in the United Kingdom from October 26, 2012, to July 31, 2015. Eligible patients met the diagnostic criteria for Parkinson disease dementia, had motor fluctuations, were appropriate surgical candidates aside from the coexistence of dementia, were age 35 to 80 years, were able to give informed consent, had a Mini-Mental State Examination score of 21 to 26, had minimal atrophy seen on results of brain magnetic resonance imaging, and lived at home with a caregiver-informant. Interventions: After surgery, patients were assigned to receive either active stimulation (bilateral, low-frequency [20 Hz] NBM DBS) or sham stimulation for 6 weeks, followed by the opposite condition for 6 weeks. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the difference in scores on each item of an abbreviated cognitive battery (California Verbal Learning Test-II, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III digit span, verbal fluency, Posner covert attention test, and simple and choice reaction times) between the 2 conditions. Secondary outcomes were exploratory and included differences in scores on standardized measurements of cognitive, psychiatric, and motor symptoms and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results: Surgery and stimulation were well tolerated by all 6 patients (all men; mean [SD] age, 65.2 [10.7] years), with no serious adverse events during the trial. No consistent improvements were observed in the primary cognitive outcomes or in results of resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. An improvement in scores on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory was observed with NBM DBS (8.5 points [range, 4-26 points]) compared with sham stimulation (12 points [range, 8-38 points]; median difference, 5 points; 95% CI, 2.5-8.5 points; P = .03) and the preoperative baseline (13 points [range, 5-25 points]; median difference, 2 points; 95% CI, -8 to 5.5 points; P = .69). Conclusions and Relevance: Low-frequency NBM DBS was safely conducted in patients with Parkinson disease dementia; however, no improvements were observed in the primary cognitive outcomes. Further studies may be warranted to explore its potential to improve troublesome neuropsychiatric symptoms. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT01701544.

Original publication




Journal article


JAMA Neurol

Publication Date





169 - 178


Aged, Basal Nucleus of Meynert, Cross-Over Studies, Deep Brain Stimulation, Dementia, Double-Blind Method, Female, Hallucinations, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Outcome Assessment, Health Care, Oxygen, Parkinson Disease