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article imageDeep-brain stimulation helps Parkinson's

By Tim Sandle     Apr 26, 2015 in Science
San Fransisco - Deep-brain stimulation appears to treat slow movement, tremor, and rigidity in Parkinson’s patients. This is by reducing synchronicity of neural activity in the motor cortex.
Studies involving the stimulation of the brain of a patient suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD) via a surgically implanted electrode have reaped beneficial effects, according to a new study. In trials, a person’s slow movement, tremor, and/or rigidity—common symptoms of the neurodegenerative disorder—disappeared immediately. However, when the device is turned off, the motor symptoms return in full force. The technique is called deep-brain simulation (DBS).
DBS works by reducing the overly synchronized activity of the motor cortex, which controls the body’s skeletal muscles. With the study, the researchers temporarily placed a strip of six recording electrodes over the motor cortex of 23 Parkinson’s patients during surgery to implant a permanent DBS electrode. Over the course of the six-hour surgery, during which patients are awoken to ensure the proper placement of the DBS electrode.
he results showed that as soon as the DBS electrode was switched on, stimulating the subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep in the brain, the activity of the motor cortex quickly became less synchronized. When the device was turned off, the synchronicity returned.
Further work will be undertaken in conjunction with a company called Medtronic. This will be to implant DBS devices that can simultaneously record activity in the motor cortex, allowing the researchers to collect long-term data on how DBS affects brain activity. It is hoped that the new information will help to advance potential treatments for the disease.
The study was carried out at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The findings have been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. The research is called "Therapeutic deep brain stimulation reduces cortical phase-amplitude coupling in Parkinson's disease."
More about Deepbrain stimulation, Parkinson's Disease, Brain, Neurodegenrative disease
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