Optimized deep brain stimulation (DBS)

Generating intentional movements requires an interplay of cortical and subcortical neural circuits. This interplay is disrupted in Parkinson’s disease, for example, as a result of loss of dopamine neurons in the basal ganglia. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) – high frequency stimulation of midbrain regions with implanted electrodes – has a significant benefit for patients (Medtronic videos on YouTube) with Parkinson’s disease despite its side effects and simple pacemaker-like stimulation patterns. By understanding how information flows in the cortical-basal ganglia circuits in healthy brains, how this flow is disrupted by Parkinson’s disease, and how DBS can change the flow of information, we hope to optimize DBS stimulation to maximize therapeutic benefit and minimize side effects.