The History of Deep Brain Stimulation

  • J. D. Hans Speelman
  • Rick Schuurman


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a medical treatment that aims at obtaining therapeutic effects by applying chronic electrical impulses in specific brain structures. The saga started in 1947 with the development of a stereotactic device for application in the human brain and the publication of reliable stereotactic brain atlases. These developments made it possible to induce precision lesions in deep brain structures solely through a burr hole in the skull. Following this, lesion surgery was replaced by chronic high-frequency electrical stimulation. DBS had been used since the 1950s for treatment of psychiatric patients, but this practice was abandoned due to ethical objections, as well as the introduction of neuroleptics. In the 1960s, the technique had been introduced for treatment of movement disorders. In 1993, DBS had been acknowledged for the treatment of tremors and thereafter for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, dystonias, obsessive–compulsive disorder and epilepsy.


Deep brain stimulation History 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. D. Hans Speelman
    • 1
  • Rick Schuurman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUMC AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryUMC AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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