Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exact brain electrode placement for Parkinson’s patients now possible; Research opens the way to more precise deep brain stimulation

Date:
September 7, 2011
Source:
Eindhoven University of Technology
Summary:
Deep brain stimulation stops limb tremors in Parkinson's patients. But positioning the stimulation electrode in the brain must be done very precisely to avoid undesired side-effects. To make this possible, a researcher in the Netherlands has developed a method for precise, external localization of the right part of the brain: the motor area of the subthalamic nucleus. She has found an ingenious way to localize this 'magic area': by using MRI to visualize the pathways in the brain that lead to it.

Ellen Brunenberg of Eindhoven University of Technology.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Eindhoven University of Technology/Bart van Overbeeke

Deep brain stimulation stops limb tremors in Parkinson's patients. But positioning the stimulation electrode in the brain must be done very precisely to avoid undesired side-effects. To make this possible, researcher Ellen Brunenberg of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has developed a method for precise, external localization of the right part of the brain: the motor area of the subthalamic nucleus. She has found an ingenious way to localize this 'magic area': by using MRI to visualize the pathways in the brain that lead to it.

Related Articles


"If you take away the towns and cities on a map, you can still see where they are located from the pattern of the roads," says Brunenberg, who will earn her PhD on Sept. 8 for her thesis entitled 'Hitting the right target'.

Deep brain stimulation has been used since the 1980s on patients with a severe form of Parkinson's disease. Symptoms of this incurable brain disease include the well-known tremors of arms and legs. In deep brain stimulation, an electrode is introduced into the subthalamic nucleus of the patient's brain, an area the size of a cashew nut. The pulses from the electrode cause the tremors to virtually disappear. But there are often side-effects, ranging from memory loss and behavioral abnormalities through to depression and extreme susceptibility to addiction. This is because the pulses stimulate not only the motor area of the subthalamic nucleus, but also the areas associated with emotions and thought. It is therefore important to position the electrode precisely: not just in the subthalamic nucleus itself, but also in the right part of it. But how can physicians see exactly where this tiny area is located in a patient's brain?

Brunenberg and her colleagues have developed a technique that for the first time allows non invasive imaging of the different areas in the subthalamic nucleus. They do this using advanced MRI technology. "It's difficult to image the nucleus directly with MRI, because it is too much like the surrounding brain tissue. But as my supervisor professor Bart ter Haar Romeny says: if you take away the towns and cities on a map, you can still see where they should be located from the pattern of the roads."

By using a few complicated techniques, Brunenberg can see the 'roads' in the brain. "MRI allows you to make an image of the structures along which water molecules move through the brain. And that in turn shows the paths of the transport fibers through the various areas: the 'roads' on the map of the brain, which lead to the subthalamic 'city center'. From the links between the subthalamic nucleus and motor areas elsewhere in the brain, you can see which part of the nucleus is the motor area," Brunenberg explains.

This research is an important step towards more effective treatment of Parkinson's patients. The new technique should in the near future make it possible to tell brain surgeons before an operation exactly where to introduce the electrode for an optimal result with the minimum possible side effects. But before that can be done, research first has to be carried out with Parkinson's patients. "Up to now we've worked with healthy volunteers. But one of the problems with Parkinson's patients is that it's more difficult for them to lie still." It's also not yet certain whether the brain of someone with Parkinson's looks the same on an MRI scan. Other researchers at TU/e now plan to continue the research.

Ellen Brunenberg received a Top Talent grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for her research. She carried out this research in the TU/e Biomedical Image Analysis group in cooperation with the Neurosurgery department of Academic Hospital Maastricht. Her supervisors are prof. Bart ter Haar Romeny (TU/e) and Veerle Visser-Vandewalle (Maastricht University).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Eindhoven University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Eindhoven University of Technology. "Exact brain electrode placement for Parkinson’s patients now possible; Research opens the way to more precise deep brain stimulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907075755.htm>.
Eindhoven University of Technology. (2011, September 7). Exact brain electrode placement for Parkinson’s patients now possible; Research opens the way to more precise deep brain stimulation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907075755.htm
Eindhoven University of Technology. "Exact brain electrode placement for Parkinson’s patients now possible; Research opens the way to more precise deep brain stimulation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907075755.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins