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Stable cognitive functioning with improved perceptual reasoning in children with dyskinetic cerebral palsy and other secondary dystonias after deep brain stimulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Tamsin Owen, D. Adegboye, Hortensia Gimeno, Richard Selway, Jean-Pierre Lin

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Early online date21 Oct 2016
Accepted/In press11 Oct 2016
E-pub ahead of print21 Oct 2016


King's Authors



Dystonia is characterised by involuntary movements (twisting, writhing and jerking) and postures. Secondary dystonias are described as a heterogeneous group of disorders with both exogenous and endogenous causes. There is a growing body of literature on the effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery on the motor function in childhood secondary dystonias, however research on cognitive function after DBS is scarce.

Cognitive function was measured in a cohort of 40 children with secondary dystonia following DBS surgery using a retrospective repeated measures design. Baseline pre-DBS neuropsychological measures were compared to scores obtained at least one year following DBS. Cognitive function was assessed using standardised measures of intellectual ability and memory.

There was no significant change in the assessed domains of cognitive function following DBS surgery. A significant improvement across the group was found on the Picture Completion subtest, measuring perceptual reasoning ability, following DBS.

Cognition remained stable in children with secondary dystonia following DBS surgery, with some improvements noted in a domain of perceptual reasoning. Further research with a larger sample is necessary to further explore this, in particular to further subdivide this group to account for its heterogeneity. This preliminary data has potentially positive implications for the impact of DBS on cognitive functioning within the childhood secondary dystonia population.

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