New noninvasive method being tested for brain stimulation.


New methods tested to help patients with Brain diseases 

Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield is the CEO of Neuro-Bio which was formed in 2013 to carry out important research into Alzheimer’s disease. It is very important to keep up to date with all the latest research in Neuroscience. Here is interesting new method being tested by stimulating regions deep within the brain using electrodes placed on the scalp. This method could be used to perform noninvasive deep brain stimulation on patients with brain disorders.

MIT researchers, working with investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the IT'IS Foundation, have come up with a way to stimulate regions deep within the brain using electrodes placed on the scalp. This method could make deep brain stimulation noninvasive, less risky, less expensive, and more accessible to patients.

Doctors use deep brain stimulation to treat some patients with obsessive compulsive disorder, epilepsy, and depression and are exploring the possibility of using it to treat other conditions such as autism. The new, noninvasive approach could make it easier to adapt deep brain stimulation to treat additional disorders, the researchers say.
Electrodes for treating Parkinson's disease are usually placed in the subthalamic nucleus, a lens-shaped structure located below the thalamus, deep within the brain. Many Parkinson's patients, delivering electrical impulses in this brain region can improve symptoms, however the surgery to implant the electrodes carries risks, including brain hemorrhage and infection.
Other researchers have tried to noninvasively stimulate the brain using techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which is FDA-approved for treating depression. Since TMS is noninvasive, it has also been used in normal human subjects to study the basic science of cognition, emotion, sensation, and movement. However, using TMS to stimulate deep brain structures can also result in surface regions being strongly stimulated, resulting in modulation of multiple brain networks.
The MIT team devised a way to deliver electrical stimulation deep within the brain, via electrodes placed on the scalp, by taking advantage of a phenomenon known as temporal interference.
This strategy requires generating two high-frequency electrical currents using electrodes placed outside the brain. These fields are too fast to drive neurons. However, these currents interfere with one another in such a way that where they intersect, deep in the brain, a small region of low-frequency current is generated inside neurons. This low-frequency current can be used to drive neurons' electrical activity, while the high-frequency current passes through surrounding tissue with no effect.
By tuning the frequency of these currents and changing the number and location of the electrodes, the researchers can control the size and location of the brain tissue that receives the low-frequency stimulation. They can target locations deep within the brain without affecting any of the surrounding brain structures. They can also steer the location of stimulation, without moving the electrodes, by altering the currents. In this way, deep targets could be stimulated, both for therapeutic use and basic science investigations.
Find out more about Susan Greenfield here and learn more about Susan Greenfield work here.

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