Register for updates

 
 

Medicine & Health
RSS Feed
Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Improves Crucial Gait Impairment of Parkinson's Disease Patients
Thursday, March 08, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Transcranial direct current therapy positively impacts mobility and executive functions, TAU researchers say

Walking presents many challenges for patients with Parkinson's disease. Among the most burdensome of these challenges is "freezing of gait," the sudden onset of immobility mid-step. It often causes falls and leads to a reduction in quality of life.

A new Tel Aviv University study suggests a novel way of treating the affected areas of the brain that apparently cause freezing of gait. It proposes that transcranial direct-current electrical stimulation of the primary motor cortex and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex significantly ameliorates the condition.

"The effects of multi-target simultaneous stimulation of motor and cognitive networks demand investigation," says Prof. Jeffrey Hausdorff of TAU's Sackler School of Medicine and the Center for Movement Disorders at Tel Aviv Medical Center, who led the research for the study, just published in the journal Movement Disorders.

Research for the study was also conducted by TAU neuroscience doctoral student Moria DaganProf. Nir Giladi of TAU's Sackler School of Medicine and Tel Aviv Medical Center; Dr. Tali Herman of Tel Aviv Medical Center; and a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School led by Dr. Brad Manor and Prof. Lew Lipsitz.

Real and "sham" stimulation examined

The team of scientists examined 20 Parkinson's disease patients, who often experience freezing of gait. The patients received 20 minutes of transcranial direct current stimulation via a cap that the subjects wore on their head on three separate visits. Transcranial direct current stimulation targeted the primary motor cortex and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex simultaneously; the primary motor cortex only; or underwent "sham," placebo stimulation, where the subject feels some tingling sensation, but the amount of stimulation is negligible.

Before and after each round of stimulation, the participants completed a test that provoked freezing of gait, a static and dynamic mobility test (known as "Timed Up and Go"), gait assessment, and a cognitive test for processing speed, selective attention and inhibition control (Stroop test).

"What we found was quite encouraging," says Prof. Hausdorff. "The participants' walking improved after simultaneous stimulation of the primary motor cortex and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, but not after primary motor cortex only or sham stimulation. The results of the study reveal that transcranial direct current stimulation designed to simultaneously target motor and cognitive regions apparently induces immediate aftereffects in the brain that translate into reduced freezing of gait and improvements in executive function and mobility."

Multi-site stimulation most effective

After 20 minutes of multi-site stimulation, the patients' freezing of gait was reduced and mobility and cognition improved — more than that seen after stimulation of primary motor cortex only or through sham simulation.

"In other words, a larger, more positive effect is obtained when both motor and cognitive areas are targeted," Prof. Hausdorff concludes. "When thinking about treatments for freezing of gait, it is important to target both motor and cognitive functions.

"Even among patients with advanced Parkinson's disease and freezing of gait, it is apparently possible to improve brain function via non-invasive brain stimulation, at least in the short-term, and this has positive, functional consequences."

Together with their collaborators at Harvard Medical School, the TAU-TAMC team is currently conducting a randomized controlled trial to determine the long-term benefits of this multi-site stimulation on freezing of gait and related symptoms.




Latest News

Genetically Encoded Sensor Isolates Hidden Leukemic Stem Cells

Cells express surface markers that help them escape most targeted therapies, TAU researchers say.

Be Nice to Your Doctor — You May Receive Better Care

Under most conditions, positive social interactions have beneficial implications for employee performance, say TAU researchers.

PCV Vaccine Leads to Steep Decline in Childhood Hospitalizations Due to Community-Acquired Bacteremia

Vaccine also decreased antibiotic resistance patterns, TAU researchers say.

Physicists Solve 35-Year-Old Mystery About Quarks

Number of proton-neutron pairs in an atom determines how fast particles move, say TAU, MIT, Thomas Jefferson researchers.

New Blood Test May Map Fetal Genome for Countless Mutations

Test could detect innumerable diseases caused by minuscule impairments in the fetal genome, TAU researchers say.

New Imaging Technology Captures Movement of Quantum Particles With Unprecedented Resolution

Method paves the way for ultrafast control and extreme spatiotemporal imaging of condensed matter, TAU researchers say.

Lightning's Electromagnetic Fields May Have Protective Properties

Extremely low frequency fields may have played an evolutionary role in living organisms, say TAU researchers.

Study Links Adult Fibromyalgia to Childhood Sexual Abuse

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions are an effective treatment, TAU researchers say.

Adolescents With Celiac Disease Are at Higher Risk of Eating Disorders

Overweight teenage girls with CD are at highest risk of developing early hallmarks of full-blown eating disorders, TAU researchers say.

White Blood Cells Related to Allergies and Asthma May Also Be Harnessed to Destroy Cancer Cells

Eosinophil immune cells are capable of killing colon cancer cells, TAU researchers say.

contentSecondary
c

© 2019 American Friends of Tel Aviv University
39 Broadway, Suite 1510 | New York, NY 10006 | 212.742.9070 | info@aftau.org
Privacy policy | Tel Aviv University