Tuning Deep Brain Stimulation Therapies by scientists becomes a reality

deep brain simulation study

Mental disorders, including depression and addiction, and some neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s are already being treated with the help of Deep brain stimulation (DBS). However, the physicians have found it very difficult to manage consistent results, which is why the technology is deemed to be still at very early stages. The efficacy of Deep brain stimulation therapy may now be further optimized as the scientists at the Picower Institute at MIT have discovered a major clue to help attain that.

The study which has been published in the journal Nature Communications demonstrates that it may now be possible for clinicians to tune how a given DBS system affects a patient through analyzing “theta” rhythms on EEG (electroencephalography). The prefrontal cortex coordinates neurons in other brain regions to tick to its beat with the tool of Theta rhythms.

An immediate change in symptoms, such as in the case of a disease like Parkinson’s makes it easier to tune a DBS implant. However, an obvious or immediate change in symptoms has not been found in other mental disorders such as addiction and depression, making tuning a DBS implant in them relatively challenging. With the new discovery however, it is now being considered that theta rhythms may serve as the indicator against which a DBS system would be adjusted. Consequently it will grant the clinicians an opportunity to comprehend the effect of DBS on the patient, whether or not he or she is receiving the required benefit from it.

The lead author of the study, Alik Widge said that this discovery is a huge step in the area of psychiatric brain stimulation. According to him, this study reflects a specific mechanism of how DBS improves a patient’s brain function. That ultimately helps the doctor ascertain the benefits the patient is receiving and to further optimize the individual’s line of treatment.

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