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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2012, Article ID 850596, 10 pages
Review Article

Effect of Deep Brain Stimulation on Speech Performance in Parkinson's Disease

Department of Neurology, Knappschaftskrankenhaus, Ruhr University Bochum, In der Schornau 23-25, 44892 Bochum, Germany

Received 14 July 2012; Accepted 17 October 2012

Academic Editor: Jan O. Aasly

Copyright © 2012 Sabine Skodda. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been reported to be successful in relieving the core motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) and motor fluctuations in the more advanced stages of the disease. However, data on the effects of DBS on speech performance are inconsistent. While there are some series of patients documenting that speech function was relatively unaffected by DBS of the nucleus subthalamicus (STN), other investigators reported on improvements of distinct parameters of oral control and voice. Though, these ameliorations of single speech modalities were not always accompanied by an improvement of overall speech intelligibility. On the other hand, there are also indications for an induction of dysarthria as an adverse effect of STN-DBS occurring at least in some patients with PD. Since a deterioration of speech function has more often been observed under high stimulation amplitudes, this phenomenon has been ascribed to a spread of current-to-adjacent pathways which might also be the reason for the sporadic observation of an onset of dysarthria under DBS of other basal ganglia targets (e.g., globus pallidus internus/GPi or thalamus/Vim). The aim of this paper is to review and evaluate reports in the literature on the effects of DBS on speech function in PD.