Scimex: Researchers in the US suggest that deep brain stimulation (DBS, electrodes implanted in the brain) reduces abnormally intense activation between certain regions of the brain in Parkinson's patients, which could explain why DBS is so effective for Parkinson's related motor problems. The authors suggest that their findings could be used in upcoming studies with the intent to develop a 'smart' DBS device that could apply stimulation as needed based on brain activity. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) may work by reducing abnormally strong co-activation between of brain regions in patients with Parkinson's disease, reports a paper published online in Nature Neuroscience. This may explain why DBS is an effective treatment for Parkinsonian locomotor deficits.
DBS is a surgical procedure where electrodes are implanted in the brain
to deliver an electrical impulse. Precisely timed electrical stimulation
is given to a specific brain region to correct abnormal neuronal
activities and the therapeutic benefits are immediate. However, it is
unclear how exactly DBS works to alleviate locomotor defects in patients
with Parkinson's Disease (PD).
Coralie de Hemptinne and colleagues measured neural activities before,
during and after DBS electrode implantation surgery in 23 PD patients.
They revealed the manner and timing by which brain regions communicate
with each other is reduced when DBS is administered, and that this
'uncoupling' occurs specifically in regions known to plan and execute
body movements. This then allowed the uncoupled brain regions to engage
in a task-relevant movement and the level of uncoupling was correlated
with the degree of DBS's therapeutic benefit.
The authors suggest that these findings may be used in future clinical
studies to develop a 'smart' DBS device that could monitor brain
activity and apply stimulation as needed. As DBS is also used to treat
severe forms of neurological diseases such as chronic pain and major
depression, this new study also provides a general mechanism by which
DBS may be able to restore normal neural activities in other diseases.