Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is an established treatment option for movement disorders and is under investigation for treatment in a growing number of other brain diseases. It has been shown that exact electrode placement crucially affects the efficacy of DBS and this should be considered when investigating novel indications or DBS targets. To measure clinical improvement as a function of electrode placement, neuroscientific methodology and specialized software tools are needed. Such tools should have the goal to make electrode placement comparable across patients and DBS centers, and include statistical analysis options to validate and define optimal targets. Moreover, to allow for comparability across different centers, these need to be performed within an algorithmically and anatomically standardized and openly available group space. With the publication of Lead-DBS software in 2014, an open-source tool was introduced that allowed for precise electrode reconstructions based on pre- and postoperative neuroimaging data. Here, we introduce Lead Group, implemented within the Lead-DBS environment and specifically designed to meet aforementioned demands. In the present article, we showcase the various processing streams of Lead Group in a retrospective cohort of 51 patients suffering from Parkinson's disease, who were implanted with DBS electrodes to the subthalamic nucleus (STN). Specifically, we demonstrate various ways to visualize placement of all electrodes in the group and map clinical improvement values to subcortical space. We do so by using active coordinates and volumes of tissue activated, showing converging evidence of an optimal DBS target in the dorsolateral STN. Second, we relate DBS outcome to the impact of each electrode on local structures by measuring overlap of stimulation volumes with the STN. Finally, we explore the software functions for connectomic mapping, which may be used to relate DBS outcomes to connectivity estimates with remote brain areas. The manuscript is accompanied by a walkthrough tutorial which allows users to reproduce all main results presented here. All data and code needed to reproduce results are openly available.
Keywords: Deep brain stimulation Group analysis Imaging Subthalamic nucleus