Neuroscience

Researchers identify a brain circuit for addiction remission

In the United States, substance use disorders are a leading cause of death among young people. Treatments such as deep brain stimulation hold promise for helping people overcome addiction, but many questions remain about ...

Neuroscience

Smooth movements are achieved by stable basal ganglia activity

Smooth movements require coordinated control of muscles. Even a simple reaching movement involves coordinated movements of a person's shoulder, arm, wrist and fingers, which are controlled by temporally precise commands from ...

Neuroscience

Optimizing deep brain stimulation in patients with dystonia

Recent discoveries made by researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin may prove vital in improving the treatment of dystonia, a neurological movement disorder. Published in PNAS, their findings show that very ...

Parkinson's & Movement disorders

Improving treatment for Parkinson's

Parkinson's is a neurodegenerative disease where dopaminergic neurons progressively die in the brainstem. Tremor and difficulties walking are recognizable movement symptoms for many people suffering from Parkinson's. Over ...

Neuroscience

Identifying the neural network responsible for how tics develop

A team of researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has identified a neural network which is responsible for generating tic disorders. Targeting of this network via deep brain stimulation delivered by a ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Neuromodulation advances offer promise for treating depression

A new review study looking at the current state of neuromodulation therapies being used to treat depression, including rTMS, ECT and others, is available online today in the December issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Deep brain stimulation

In neurotechnology, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical treatment involving the implantation of a medical device called a brain pacemaker, which sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain. DBS in select brain regions has provided remarkable therapeutic benefits for otherwise treatment-resistant movement and affective disorders such as chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, tremor and dystonia. Despite the long history of DBS, its underlying principles and mechanisms are still not clear. DBS directly changes brain activity in a controlled manner, its effects are reversible (unlike those of lesioning techniques) and is one of only a few neurosurgical methods that allows blinded studies.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved DBS as a treatment for essential tremor in 1997, for Parkinson's disease in 2002, and dystonia in 2003. DBS is also routinely used to treat chronic pain and has been used to treat various affective disorders, including major depression. While DBS has proven helpful for some patients, there is potential for serious complications and side effects.

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