Navigation Links
University Hospitals Case Medical Center Researchers Search for Mysteries of Dystonia With Advanced Brain Imaging
Date:11/14/2011

CLEVELAND, Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- An estimated 300,000 people in North America are afflicted with dystonia, a disorder characterized by a progressive loss of motor control. Patients with generalized dystonia grapple with involuntary muscle spasms that lead to uncontrolled twisting and turning in awkward, sometimes painful postures. Although cognition, intelligence and life span are often normal, the disorder can have a devastating impact on quality of life, as its victims frequently struggle to perform simple activities of daily living.

At University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center's Neurological Institute, a research team is using advanced imaging technology to explore the complex network of brain activity relating to movement in healthy subjects and in patients with dystonia. "Normally, MRI is used to provide an image of the structure of the brain," says Benjamin L. Walter, MD, Medical Director, Deep Brain Stimulation Program, UH Case Medical Center, and Assistant Professor of Neurology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Functional MRI [fMRI] takes advantage of the artifact that's created by blood flow and the oxygenation of blood. The level of oxygenation is highly correlated with neural activity in the same regions, so we can see which parts of the brain are being used."

Dr. Walter's current research explores two key areas: the nature of brain activity in patients with dystonia, and how that differs from activity in normal subjects; and understanding how deep brain stimulation (DBS), a leading-edge treatment for selected dystonia patients, works to quiet the involuntary spasms. Treating dystonia with DBS involves the placement of electrodes in the internal segment of the globus pallidus, a subcortical structure also targeted in the DBS treatment of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and obsessive compulsive disorder. "In disorders such as Parkinson's and essential tremor, when you turn the stimulator on there's a pretty quick benefit," Dr. Walter explains. "That's not the case with dystonia – it slowly improves over a long period of time, six months or longer. So there's more of a neuroplastic effect that's probably involved in the mechanism of DBS."

The initial stage of Dr. Walter's research involves using fMRI to observe brain activity in healthy subjects and in patients with dystonia who have not received DBS implants.

"We're looking to examine how sensory and motor information is handled in the brain in patients with dystonia. Dystonia is obviously a movement disorder, but there's a lot of evidence that the integration of sensorimotor information is dysfunctional."

The research team chose to study their subjects' proprioception – the sense of how their own limbs are oriented in space – "because that's very close to movement, and you get direct feedback about joint position when you move a limb."

Using a small device that vibrates over a wrist tendon, the researchers induce a movement illusion (the false perception that the subject's wrist is flexing) and examine the resulting fMRI images.

"In our normal patients, we're seeing that the motor cortex and the motor portion of the basal ganglia and the posterior striatum are involved," Dr. Walter notes. "In our dystonic patients, we'll look for changes in how the proprioceptive input is being handled. We're hoping to discover where the signal is becoming abnormal in these patients, whether there are different anatomical structures involved, and whether there's a different place we could put the DBS wire and get a more robust effect."

The next stage of the research will include fMRI imaging of patients who have received DBS treatment. "DBS is not really well understood," Dr. Walter says "In part you need to know where to look, and this type of neuroimaging can tell us where there are abnormal hot nodes that are involved in our proprioception paradigm and may be worth investigating using other methods. Essentially, we're defining the differences between dystonia and normal patients, and in the dystonia patients who get DBS, we'll be looking for changes in their brain activity over time, as the dystonia melts away."


'/>"/>
SOURCE University Hospitals Case Medical Center
Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. International Isotopes Inc. Announces the Completion of an Agreement in Principle With Idaho State University for the Production of Copper-67 for Experimental Use in Cancer Treatment
2. DMC Harper University Hospital is the First in Michigan to Utilize New Device for Brain Tumor Removal
3. Sectra Signs Medical Imaging Research Agreement With University Hospitals in Cleveland
4. Waters Recognizes the Dr. Ganesh Anand Laboratory at the National University of Singapore as Center of Innovation
5. VaxyGen Manufacturing Services LLC Announces Exclusive License and Collaborative Agreement with Georgia State University Research Foundation to Commercialize Novel Biological Process Development Patent, Expertise & Know-How
6. Cardinal Health Foundation, The Ohio State University Launch New Toolkit to Help Reduce Misuse of Prescription Drugs
7. PAREXEL and National University of Singapore Establish Program in Singapore to Meet Increasing Demand in Asia for Clinical Research Talent
8. IBM Launches University Competition to Combat Growth of Non-Communicable Diseases
9. Loma Linda University Expands Vision Screening Program With Revolutionary New Screening Device, Spot
10. Visionsense Corp Announces 500 Patients Milestone With Neurosurgical 3D Camera at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA
11. University of Michigan Pediatric Device Inventors Awarded Funds to Design Child-Specific Medical Devices
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/10/2016)... , February 10, 2016 ... new market research report "Pharmaceutical Packaging Equipment Market by ... Labeling & Serialization), by Product Type (Tablet, Powder, Cream, ... published by MarketsandMarkets, studies the global market during the forecast ... to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% during the ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... On Tuesday, February 9th, the U.S. ... its Arthritis Advisory Committee to discuss Celltrion,s ... Johnson,s Remicade and most likely the second ... The Biologics Prescribers Collaborative (BPC) along with ... Patient Access, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 10, 2016 --> ... Therapeutics and Companion Diagnostic Market to 2019 - ... Environment" research report indicates that the core personalized ... by 2020 growing at a CAGR of 8.74%. ... and targeted therapeutics and is dominated by oncology, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:2/10/2016)... St. Louis, Missouri (PRWEB) , ... February 10, ... ... 11-14, 2016, in San Diego, will bring together more than 200 of the ... in healthcare for the future. , “The true benefit of the Forum is ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... AHRA: The Association for Medical Imaging ... Fox will serve as keynote speaker at the organization’s 2016 Spring Conference. Fox’s ... more effectively communicate with their own organizational staff and leadership. , “I ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Everseat has joined the award-winning ... to physicians. The integration will enable Allscripts users to post open appointments to ... mobile app. , The partnership gives Everseat substantial added power to help Allscripts ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... The recreational use of marijuana has been ... still face a lot of restrictions as to where they can smoke pot. ... use” and that cannabis “may not be consumed openly or publicly.” , Given the ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... According to a recent article published ... number of patients under the age of 30. According to Southern California based medical ... and may indicate an overall shift in the rapidly growing social acceptance of cosmetic ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):