New research in the Butson lab provides future guidance for clinicians on how to get optimal therapeutic benefits for patients receiving Deep Brain Stimulation to treat movement disorders or other neurological conditions. Using a mathematical model in a computer simulated environment, graduate student Daria Anderson was able to determine which activation patterns of neuron pathways in the brain could be selectively stimulated to achieve potential beneficial treatment in DBS patients. This will allow for more precise targeting of stimulation of DBS electrodes to enhance therapeutic effects and reduce unwanted side-effects.
Since the first uses of DBS to treat movement disorders and other neurological conditions, cathodic stimulation has been exclusively used to modulate neurons to achieve therapeutic benefit. However, our research has provided compelling evidence that anodic stimulation may provide therapeutic benefit as well. Anderson was able to determine that cathode or anode pulses can selectively activate neural pathways based on neuron orientation using a mathematical neuron model. Preferential activation of neurons with anodic versus cathodic pulses will allow for more precise targeting of stimulation through DBS electrodes, and we hope that this work will encourage clinicians to explore anodic stimulation in a clinical setting as a possible therapeutic tool.
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