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:4/29/2016)... ... ... New York City based oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Majid Jamali is an ... obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Jamali is proud to offer this permanent solution to patients who ... both jaw bones. This surgery is performed to correct the alignment of the jaw. It ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... For those who skip meals occasionally (which is pretty much ... the many new lifestyle diet tips offered by nutritionists Pam Bonney and Priya Lawrence ... radio show. Bonny and Lawrence noted that because proper nutrition, including water, provides energy ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... feature Grassland Dairy Products, Inc. in an upcoming episode, airing third quarter 2016 ... century of churning cream into butter, Grassland Dairy Products, located in Greenwood, Wisconsin ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... media enterprise focused entirely on patients with cancer, today announced that Lynne Malestic, ... as the 2016 CURE® Extraordinary Healer® for Oncology Nursing , which honors ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... Nike Softball ... softball camp from July 24th – 27th for girls aged 10-18. All facets of ... held at the beautiful Clark V. Whited Complex, one of the finest softball facilities ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... YORK , April 28, 2016  The blood ... 275 million dollars, according to Kalorama Information and The ... typing, immunoassays and nucleic acid testing.  The healthcare research ... made progress in developing blood collection stations and in ... made in Kalorama Information,s report, Blood Testing ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016 Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... pharmaceutical company focused on the development of oral drug delivery ... upcoming PIONEERS 2016 conference, presented by Joseph Gunnar ... New York . Nadav Kidron , ... conference. Presentation Details:   PIONEERS ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 ... H1 2016" is a report that provides an ... strengthen R&D pipelines by identifying new targets and ... Company Profiles discussed in this H1 2016 ... Riunite Srl, AbbVie Inc., Abiogen Pharma S.p.A., Ablynx ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: