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:2/5/2016)... 2016  Patients in Alabama seeking ... therapy no longer have to travel out of state. ... Urology Centers of Alabama to provide a total ... qualifying patients. Alabama is ... of prostate cancer using many different modalities. They are the ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... 5, 2016 --> ... states that the global active pharmaceuticals ingredients (APIs) market ... to reach US$185.9 bn by 2020. It is expected ... to 2020. The title of the report is "Active ... Geography, and by Therapeutic Area) - Global Industry Analysis, ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... Site Profile: --> Site ... People, announced their latest primary healthcare case study where speech recognition ... and to save the practice money. Site Profile: ... Challenge: --> ,- Wirral CCG ,- VoicePower client since ... Wirral CCG ,- VoicePower client since 2013 Challenge: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:2/7/2016)... ... February 07, 2016 , ... Women's Excellence staff, in all four locations, ... National Wear Red Day is the first Friday each February and a day to ... 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined. ...
(Date:2/6/2016)... ... February 06, 2016 , ... US Sports Camps is proud to sponsor ... event brings together top non-profit leaders, ultimate organizations, and coaches from around the US. ... Bay Area Disc Program Director of Youth and Education, describes this year YUCC as ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Steven Tonkinson, 36, of Coconut Grove, ... year since it started in 2003. This year, he ran all 26.2 miles with ... and NBA team the Miami Heat. , This Sunday, while many are watching the ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... stage for new clinical and scientific initiatives have all marked the last 12 ... appointed President and CEO of the nation’s oldest cancer center, Candace S. Johnson, ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... York, New York (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... life? The answer may be at the tips of your toes. Foot massage, whether ... as well as pure comfort and relaxation. The American Board of Multiple Specialties ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):