Clinical response to varying the stimulus parameters in deep brain stimulation for essential tremor

Alexis M. Kuncel, Scott E. Cooper, Barbara R. Wolgamuth, Merlise A. Clyde, Scott A. Snyder, Erwin B. Montgomery, Ali R. Rezai, Warren M. Grill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus for essential tremor is sometimes limited by side effects. The mechanisms by which DBS alleviates tremor or causes side effects are unclear; thus, it is difficult to select stimulus parameters that maximize the width of the therapeutic window. The goal of this study was to quantify the impact on side effect intensity (SE), tremor amplitude, and the therapeutic window of varying stimulus parameters. Tremor amplitude and SE were recorded at 40 to 90 combinations of pulse width, frequency, and voltage across 14 thalami. Posterior variable inclusion probabilities indicated that frequency and voltage were the most important predictors of both SE and tremor amplitude. The amount of tremor suppression achieved at frequencies of 90 to 100 Hz was not different from that at 160 to 170 Hz. However, the width of the therapeutic window decreased significantly and power consumption increased as frequency was increased above 90 to 100 Hz. Improved understanding of the relationships between stimulus parameters and clinical responses may lead to improved techniques of stimulus parameter adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1920-1928
Number of pages9
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Frequency
  • Pulse width
  • Side effect
  • Thalamus
  • Tremor
  • Voltage

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