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

New Antibacterial Fillings from TAU May Combat Recurring Tooth Decay

Novel material may prevent one of the costliest and most prevalent bacterial diseases in the world.

First Proof-of-Concept Demonstrates Genetic Sex Selection in Mammals

Crossed transgenic mouse lines struck males without affecting females, TAU researchers say.

2019 Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival Looks to the Future

International students, filmmakers and glitterati flock to 21st edition of festival, held throughout the city of Tel Aviv.

TAU Scientist Prof. Judith Berman Is Elected Member of European Molecular Biology Organization

EMBO promotes excellence in the life sciences in Europe and beyond.

Fruit Bats Can Transform Echoes Into Images

Bats see and use their eyes as much as they hear and use echolocation, TAU researchers say.

TAU Ranks Among World's Top 20 Universities for Impact of Scientific Research

QS World University Rankings assess performance of over 1,000 universities in 82 locations worldwide.

8,000 Cyber Security Experts to Attend 9th Annual Cyber Week Conference at TAU

Weeklong event features world's top cyber security experts in government, military, industry and academia.

Study Shows How the Nervous System Can Transmit Information Across Multiple Generations

Mechanism identified in nematodes allows neurons to communicate with germ cells, TAU researchers say.

TAU Researchers Spearhead Early Detection of Parkinson's Disease

New method tracks early stages of protein aggregation involved in Parkinson's.

Inauguration of the Ady Seidman Lobby

Attractive large entrance hall honors the memory of one of the founding fathers of TAU's Engineering Faculty.

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