Navigation Links
Pitt researchers using mathematics to target Parkinson's disease symptoms
Date:11/9/2011

PITTSBURGH -- University of Pittsburgh mathematicians have been collaborating with Pitt's School of Medicine to find ways to stop the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, thanks in part to a four-year, $1.86 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a five-year $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NSF grant began in 2007 and has funded a number of research projects within Pitt's Department of Mathematics; the NIH grant is in its first year.

Pitt mathematicians, working with neurobiology researchers, are using computational models, experiments, and analysis of models and data to study the way that signals are transferred between the basal ganglia, a collection of nuclei found in the brain that helps with motor control, and the thalamus, its downstream target in the brain. Although scientists can't yet prevent the cell death associated with Parkinson's, their study of mathematical patterns could guide the development of less invasive treatments that block the motor symptoms of the disease.

"For Parkinson's patients, there are more spurts and pauses in neural activity, and the firing of groups of neurons becomes more coordinated, leading to tremor and other symptoms," said Jonathan Rubin, Pitt professor of mathematics and one of the principal investigators on the project. "The neuronal activity is like a woodpecker knocking on a tree outside your window; it distracts you when it first starts pecking, and then the silence grabs your attention when the pecking suddenly stops. Similarly, the starts and stops in the neuronal activity can become disruptive to signal processing in the brain."

Rubin said this firing pattern may be what leads those with Parkinson's to experience shaking, rigid muscles, and difficulty in making quick movements. Currently, if side effects of drug treatments become too strong, surgeons fight these symptoms with deep brain stimulation (DBS), an aggressive but commonly used surgical treatment in which an implanted electrode literally penetrates the brain and sends out electrical impulses.

"It's not quite understood how deep brain stimulation works," said Rubin. "But it may be similar to the white noise of a window fan: It's right there in your window next to you, so it's potentially more distracting than a woodpecker. But actually, the regularity of the rhythm is less disruptive for you and your brain."

Pitt researchers are trying to understand the neuronal activity patterns so they can improve the deep brain stimulation procedure, making it more individualized and efficient.


'/>"/>
Contact: B. Rose Huber
rhuber@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Moffitt Cancer Center researchers unravel biochemical factor important in tumor metastasis
2. Lose the fat and improve the gums, CWRU dental researchers find
3. Researchers identify diabetes link to cognitive impairment in older adults
4. UGA researchers develop first mouse model to study important aspect of Alzheimer’s
5. Researchers discover why measles spreads so quickly
6. Researchers identify structure of apolipoprotein
7. Researchers aim to improve lives of military families with special needs
8. UCLA researchers identify brain cells responsible for keeping us awake
9. Researchers help in search for new ways to image, therapeutically target melanoma
10. Univesity of Notre Dame researchers form new partnership to help trauma patients
11. Ohio State researchers design a viral vector to treat a genetic form of blindness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing ... companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Creek, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... joined as sponsor of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in ... in honor of the city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to ... a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, ... Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms ... Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department ... in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at ... Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... Story Highlights: ... the health care industry is causing providers to review ... Deloitte offers a suite of solutions for health care ... cost optimization: labor resource analysis, revenue cycle optimization and ... outcomes and better economics ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Dublin ... addition of the " Global Markets for Spectroscopy ... This report focuses on the ... review, including its applications in various applications. The report ... includes three main industries: pharmaceutical and biotechnology, food and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 Research and Markets ... for Companion Diagnostic Tests" report to their offering. ... Companion Diagnostics The World Market for Companion ... medicine diagnostics. Market analysis in the report includes the following: ... (In Vitro Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ROW), ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: