Stéphane Thobois, Amélie Bichon, Stéphan Chabardès, Valérie Fraix, Eugénie Lhommée, Paul Krack, Maxime Wack, Patrick Mertens, Hélène Klinger, Pierre Pélissier, Anna Castrioto, Emmanuelle Schmitt, Andrea Kistner, François Boyer, Emmanuel Broussolle
Background: Subthalamic stimulation improves the motor and neuropsychiatric symptoms of Parkinson's disease. However, the impact of this treatment on impulse control and personality is the subject of heavy debate. The objective of this study was to investigate personality changes after subthalamic stimulation.
Methods: Using Cloninger's biosocial model, we assessed personality in 73 Parkinson's disease patients before and 12 months after subthalamic stimulation accompanied by a drastic reduction in dopaminergic medication. Changes in psychobehavioral symptoms were measured using a battery of validated clinical scales (apathy, depression, anxiety, hyperemotionality, mania, psychosis, punding, and impulse control behaviors).
Results: One year after surgery, the harm avoidance personality domain total score increased compared with the baseline (+2.8; 34 patients; P < 0.001), as did 3 of its 4 subdomains: anticipatory worry (+0.7; 10 patients; P = 0.005), shyness (+0.6; 7 patients; P = 0.03), and fatigability (+1.1; 10 patients; P = 0.0014). Evolution of the shyness personality trait correlated with the decrease in dopaminergic medication. Total scores in the other personality domains remained unchanged, except for extravagance, a subdomain of novelty seeking, and persistence, a subdomain of reward dependence, which both decreased following surgery (-0.3; 7 patients; and -0.6; 9 patients; P = 0.03 and P = 0.0019, respectively). Although apathy increased, other psychobehavioral symptoms, including impulse control behaviors and neuropsychiatric nonmotor fluctuations, improved. Depression and anhedonia remained stable. Scores in hypodopaminergia and neuropsychiatric nonmotor OFF correlated with harm avoidance. Scores in hyperdopaminergia and neuropsychiatric nonmotor ON correlated with novelty seeking.
Conclusions: When subthalamic stimulation is applied in Parkinson's disease, significant changes in personality traits are observed, which may be related to postoperative tapering of dopaminergic treatment. © 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society