Understanding Parkinson’s Disease using Deep Brain Stimulation

Researcher

Aaron Chau

Principal Investigator

Dr. Zelma Kiss

Institution

University of Calgary

Grant Type

Undergraduate

Disorder

Parkinson’s Disease

About the researcher

Aaron Chau

Undergraduate Student at the University of Calgary

The impact

More than 100,000 individuals in Canada are currently living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), which is characterized by a wide range of symptoms particularly impacting motor abilities. Existing treatments often involve deep and invasive brain stimulation, which can introduce additional symptoms and may reduce patients’ quality of life (not very fun, to say the least). The ultimate goal of treatment should be to enhance patients’ well-being rather than diminish it. This study is building a deeper understanding of how the cerebellum contributes to PD symptoms, researchers may unlock the potential for noninvasive approaches to treatment that could improve patient quality of life.

The study

The cerebellum is a key player in many movement disorders, including PD, and opens up more non-invasive stimulation treatment methods. Enter continuous theta burst stimulation, a new treatment approach that this study compared to a more standard simulation approach. Turns out they were both winners! Both stimulation protocols induced what scientists call cerebellar depression, which helps prevent the cerebellum from interfering with movement disorders and reducing motor symptoms.

What's next?

These remarkable findings pave the way for future research and potential clinical use. This study serves as an important stepping stone toward uncovering the mysteries of the cerebellum and unlocking the treatment benefits of cerebellar depression for individuals afflicted by movement disorders. Findings from this project will help develop novel non-invasive TMS therapies to treat and manage motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

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