12. Mar. 2024

Parkinson's disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, affects an increasing number of patients worldwide. To fight the disease, a research team led by scientists from CEITEC Masaryk University has come up with a new approach to increase the effectiveness of deep brain stimulation. Their study focuses on the connection between different types of brain oscillations and more effective brain stimulation settings to improve the quality of life of patients with the disease, as there is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease and all therapy focuses only on symptom relief.

In the last 30 years, the number of patients suffering from the disease has doubled to 6 million, and a similar trend is expected to continue in the coming years, which is why scientists are looking for new therapeutic approaches.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and has shown good results over the long term, so researchers are keen to continue to improve this therapy, i.e. to increase its effectiveness and prevent side effects. A modern trend in this respect is so-called adaptive deep brain stimulation (aDBS), where stimulation of the target structure in the brain is not continuous, but dynamically adapts to the current needs and clinical condition of the patient based on electrophysiological signals from the patient's brain. The latest study by a research team led by scientists from CEITEC Masaryk University shows that, in addition to the specific frequency band, the relationships between the different frequency bands are also important for optimal stimulation settings. In the future, these inter-frequency interactions could better serve in adaptive stimulation modes. The biomarker that the study presents as a new indicator for more effective brain stimulation settings should help in this regard. The interplay of these facts should lead to improved therapeutic efficacy of DBS in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease.

"Electrophysiological data that allow this type of research is very rare," says Martina Bočková from Prof. Ivan Rector's research group, adding: "In addition to high-quality technical facilities, this research requires a functioning team of people with many professions and expertise. But what is probably most important is the willingness of patients to participate in these projects. Only about 50 patients a year undergo DBS in the whole country, 20 of them in Brno. A lot of them then get involved in our other research activities, which we appreciate very much."

The intracerebral research for deep brain stimulation, which is funded by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, involves a number of biomedical engineers, neurosurgeons, neurologists and other support staff from the CEITEC neuroscience programme and St. Anne's University Hospital in Brno. This shows the need for a comprehensive approach to this neurodegenerative disease and the great interest in deciphering its mechanisms.

The scientific study was published in the journal NPJ Parkinsons Dis., which is one of the top 10 journals in the world.

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