Muscle synergies in Parkinson’s disease before and after the deep brain stimulation of the bilateral subthalamic nucleus

Marco Ghislieri, Michele Lanotte, Marco Knaflitz, Laura Rizzi, and Valentina Agostini
Scientific Reports

The aim of this study is to quantitatively assess motor control changes in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients after bilateral deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN-DBS), based on a novel muscle synergy evaluation approach. A group of 20 PD patients evaluated at baseline (before surgery, T0), at 3 months (T1), and at 12 months (T2) after STN-DBS surgery, as well as a group of 20 age-matched healthy control subjects, underwent an instrumented gait analysis, including surface electromyography recordings from 12 muscles. A smaller number of muscle synergies was found in PD patients (4 muscle synergies, at each time point) compared to control subjects (5 muscle synergies). The neuromuscular robustness of PD patients—that at T0 was smaller with respect to controls (PD T0: 69.3 ± 2.2% vs. Controls: 77.6 ± 1.8%, p = 0.004)—increased at T1 (75.8 ± 1.8%), becoming not different from that of controls at T2 (77.5 ± 1.9%). The muscle synergies analysis may offer clinicians new knowledge on the neuromuscular structure underlying PD motor types of behavior and how they can improve after electroceutical STN-DBS therapy.

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