Expectation contributes to placebo and nocebo responses in Parkinsons disease (PD). Subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) improves proximal more than distal movements whereas it impairs executive cognitive function such as verbal fluency (VF). We investigated how expectation modulates the pattern of motor improvement in STN-DBS and its interaction with VF. In a within-subject-design, expectation of 24 hypokinetic-rigid PD patients regarding the impact of STN-DBS on motor symptoms was manipulated by verbal suggestions (positive [placebo], negative [nocebo], neutral [control]). Patients participated with (MedON) and without (MedOFF) antiparkinsonian medication. Motor function was assessed by Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale and quantitative kinematic analysis of proximal alternating hand and distal finger tapping. VF was quantified by lexical and semantic tests. In MedOFF, expectation significantly affected proximal but not distal movements resulting in better performance in the placebo than in the nocebo condition. Placebo responders with improvement of ?25% were characterized by a trend for impaired lexical VF. These results indicate that positive motor expectations exert both motor placebo and cognitive nocebo responses by further enhancing the STN-DBS-effect on proximal movements and by impairing VF. The placebo response on motor performance resembles the clinically known STN-DBS-effect with stronger improvement in proximal than distal movements. The nocebo response on VF is likely due to implicit learning mechanisms associated with an expectation-induced placebo response on motor performance.
Expectation contributes to placebo and nocebo responses in Parkinsons disease (PD). While there is evidence for expectation-induced modulations of bradykinesia, little is known about the impact of expectation on resting tremor. Subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) improves cardinal PD motor symptoms including tremor whereas impairment of verbal fluency (VF) has been observed as a potential side-effect. Here we investigated how expectation modulates the effect of STN-DBS on resting tremor and its interaction with VF. In a within-subject-design, expectation of 24 tremor-dominant PD patients regarding the impact of STN-DBS on motor symptoms was manipulated by verbal suggestions (positive [placebo], negative [nocebo], neutral [control]). Patients participated with (MedON) and without (MedOFF) antiparkinsonian medication. Resting tremor was recorded by accelerometry and bradykinesia of finger tapping and diadochokinesia were assessed by a 3D ultrasound motion detection system. VF was quantified by lexical and semantic tests. In a subgroup of patients, the effect of STN-DBS on tremor was modulated by expectation, i.e. tremor decreased (placebo response) or increased (nocebo response) by at least 10% as compared to the control condition while no significant effect was observed for the overall group. Interestingly, nocebo responders in MedON were additionally characterized by significant impairment in semantic verbal fluency. In contrast, bradykinesia was not affected by expectation. These results indicate that the therapeutic effect of STN-DBS on tremor can be modulated by expectation in a subgroup of patients and suggests that tremor is also among the parkinsonian symptoms responsive to placebo and nocebo interventions. While positive expectations enhanced the effect of STN-DBS by further decreasing the magnitude of tremor, negative expectations counteracted the therapeutic effect and at the same time exacerbated a side-effect often associated with STN-DBS. The present findings underscore the potency of patients expectation and its relevance for therapeutic outcomes.
Several studies have assessed the effects of training using patient simulation systems on medical skills. However, endocrine and psychological stress responses in a patient simulation situation and the relationship between stress reactivity and medical performance have been studied rarely, so far.
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