Unity Walk > Parkinson's Disease Foundation Research Grants 2013


Parkinson's Disease Foundation is using its 2013 distribution to fund:

Identifying Connectivity Changes with Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease


PROJECT TITLE:  Identifying Connectivity Changes with Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease

Investigators/Authors:  Matthias L. Schroeter, M.D., M.A., Ph.D.; Karsten Mueller, Ph.D., Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Sachsen, Germany

Objective: We plan to investigate how neural networks change with DBS and compare these changes with those caused by Parkinson’s medications.
Background:  In recent years, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been established as a successful surgical method for treating some people with Parkinson’s disease. DBS provides a small electric current to structures of the brain in order to block motor symptoms of PD. The technique involves the surgical insertion of tiny electrodes deep into the basal ganglia region of the brain and the implantation of an impulse generator (similar to a pacemaker) under the person’s collarbone to provide an electrical impulse to their brain. However, it is still unknown how DBS improves motor symptoms. One idea is that the treatment may alter connections among circuits of neurons, or neural networks, in the brain.

Methods/Design:  We will use a brain scan called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study resting state brain activity before and after taking PD medications, and with and without DBS.

Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s disease:   By examining a person’s brain images before treatment, we may be able to predict their response to the treatment. In this way, we could identify people who would benefit from DBS before they undergo surgery. We expect this research project to advance our knowledge of PD and our understanding of therapeutic approaches.

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