Subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become an accepted treatment for the motor manifestations of Parkinson disease (PD). The beneficial motor effects of STN DBS are likely due to modulation of BG output to frontal cortical regions associated with motor control, but the underlying neurophysiology of STN DBS effects, especially at the level of the cortex, is not well understood. In this study, we examined the effects of STN DBS on motor disability and visual working memory, a cognitive process supported by pFC. We tested 10 PD participants off medications, ON and OFF stimulation, along with 20 normal controls on a visual working memory task while simultaneously recording cortical EEG. In the OFF state, PD patients had poor motor function, were slower and less accurate in performing the working memory task, and had greater amplitudes and shorter latencies of the N200 ERP response. DBS improved clinical motor function, reduced N200 amplitudes, and increased N200 latencies but had little effect on working memory performance. We conclude that STN DBS normalizes neurophysiological activity in fronto striatal circuits and this may independently affect motor and cognitive function.

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