Neuroscience

Advances in deep brain stimulation could lead to new treatments

A new paper published in Nature Reviews Neurology suggests that recent advances in deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson's disease could lead to treatments for conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), ...

Neuroscience

A gentle method for unlocking the mysteries of the deep brain

The subcortical areas of the brain, situated in its deepest reaches, remain a mystery. Scientists are aware of the critical role they play in motor, emotional and associative activity but do not know precisely how they work. ...

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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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