Subthalmic nucleus

The subthalmic nucleus (correctly: subthalamic) is a small, oval, gray matter area of the subthalamus in the brain, but as far as function is concerned it is part of the basal ganglia system. As the name suggests ("sub"), It is located on the underside of the thalamus. The subthalamic nucleus seems to work with motor control and possibly controls some psychological processes. When lesions have been found on the subthalamic nucleus, the person shows increased impulsiveness and behavioral issues. It seems the subthalamic nucleus can be involved with issues like hyperactivity disorders or addictive behaviors. Several studies have shown that creating lesions on the subthalamic nucleus can actually help with symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, especially with motor functions. Less conclusive results were found on mood issues related to Parkinson's. Other studies have shown that stimulation of the subthalmic nucleus (correctly: subthalamic) can help with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, although researchers in this study stated that more results are needed because of possible new obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms or return of severe symptoms.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Subthalmic nucleus

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