Hold your horses: Impulsivity, deep brain stimulation, and medication in Parkinsonism

Michael J. Frank*, Johan Samanta, Ahmed A. Moustafa, Scott J. Sherman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

847 Citations (Scopus)


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus markedly improves the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, but causes cognitive side effects such as impulsivity. We showed that DBS selectively interferes with the normal ability to slow down when faced with decision conflict. While on DBS, patients actually sped up their decisions under high-conflict conditions. This form of impulsivity was not affected by dopaminergic medication status. Instead, medication impaired patients' ability to learn from negative decision outcomes. These findings implicate independent mechanisms leading to impulsivity in treated Parkinson's patients and were predicted by a single neurocomputational model of the basal ganglia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1309-1312
Number of pages4
Issue number5854
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


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