January 26, 2015
In a research article available today, Dr. Santaniello, BME core faculty, and collaborators reveal insights in the therapeutic mechanisms of high-frequency stimulation (HFS) in Parkinson’s disease by using computational models of the basal ganglia and the cortico-thalamic system. The study, entitled “Therapeutic Mechanisms of High Frequency Stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease and Neural Restoration via Loop-based Reinforcement”, shows that the stimulation injected in the loop elicits neural perturbations that travel along multiple pathways with different latencies and rendezvous in striatum (one of the basal ganglia). If the stimulation frequency is high enough, these perturbations overlap and cause more regular, stimulus-locked firing patterns in striatum (resonance). Overlap is maximal at clinically relevant HFS and restores more normal activity in the remaining structures of the loop. This suggests that neural restoration and striatal resonance may be a therapeutic merit and mechanism of HFS, respectively.