Journal of Neurology

, Volume 259, Issue 6, pp 1081–1086 | Cite as

Understanding the impact of deep brain stimulation on ambulatory activity in advanced Parkinson’s disease

  • Lynn RochesterEmail author
  • Sebastien Francois Martin Chastin
  • Sue Lord
  • Katherine Baker
  • David John Burn
Original Communication


Whilst deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (DBS-STN) improves the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), its effect on daily activity is unknown. We aimed to quantify changes in ambulatory activity following DBS-STN in advanced PD using novel accelerometry based measures that describe changes to the volume and pattern of walking. Seventeen participants with advanced PD were measured over a 7-day period using an activPAL activity monitor. Data were collected 6 weeks before and 6 months after surgery and included measures that describe the volume and pattern of ambulatory activity (number of steps per day, accumulation, diversity and variability of walking time), alongside standard measures for disease severity, freezing of gait, gait speed, and extended activities of daily living. Activity outcomes were compared pre- and 6 months post-surgery using linear mixed models and correlated with standard outcomes. The results of this study are despite significant improvements in motor symptoms after surgery, the volume of ambulatory activity (total number of steps per day) did not change (P = 0.468). However, significant increases in length and variability of walking bouts emerged, suggesting improvements in diversity and flexibility of walking patterns. Motor severity and extended activities of daily living scores were significantly correlated with walking bout variability but not with volume of walking. Thus, the conclusions are reduction in motor symptom severity after DBS-STN translated into selective improvements in daily activity. Novel measures derived from accelerometry provide a discrete measure of performance and allow closer interpretation of the impact of DBS-STN on real-world activity.


DBS-STN Activity monitoring Walking Parkinson’s disease 



Funding from the Parkinson’s UK, grant number 8048. Lynn Rochester is supported by the UK NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Ageing and Age-Related Disease award to the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynn Rochester
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Sebastien Francois Martin Chastin
    • 2
  • Sue Lord
    • 1
  • Katherine Baker
    • 3
  • David John Burn
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Ageing and Health, Clinical Ageing Research UnitNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.School of HealthGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowUK
  3. 3.School of Health Community and Education StudiesNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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