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research-and-clinical-trials

Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Grant helps speed up research on Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and deep brain stimulation

A six-month Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Grant provided a collaboration boost between Shalom Michaeli, Ph.D., professor at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) at the University of Minnesota and Olli Gröhn, Ph.D., professor and director of the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit and vice director of the A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Science at Kuopio Campus at the University of Eastern Finland.

“During my time in Finland, we made significant progress in establishing MRI biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple sclerosis (MS),” said Michaeli. “Noninvasive MRI rotating frame relaxation contrasts developed at the CMRR in close collaboration with the Kuopio team are highly sensitive to slow motion, and could probe critically important processes, such as demyelination, and could serve as noninvasive biomarkers for PD and MS.”

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in-the-news

In The News: UMN Psychiatry, MnDRIVE researchers provide non-invasive brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression

For nearly 20-30 percent of people who suffer from depression, antidepressants and psychotherapy will not be effective. The depression can be endless and debilitating. Many patients may try multiple medications and therapies with no symptom improvement. They may turn to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a last-resort, which involves inducing seizures to stimulate the brain.

UMN researchers with MnDRIVE are offering a new option which could eliminate the need for ECT for many depression patients, and would provide considerable improvement in their symptoms.

The non-invasive brain therapy is called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). It uses a magnetic coil within a helmet-like device to stimulate the brain with electric currents.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: A new approach to programming deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s

About 100,000 people worldwide undergo deep brain stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and tremor  when traditional medications or treatments fail to provide symptom improvement or relief. It is also being explored as a treatment for other neurological and psychiatric disorders for which medical therapy has not been effective in alleviating symptoms.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) involves stimulating portions of the brain through a small implanted device. After the device is implanted, a clinician programs the device to target each patient’s individual symptoms. They establish settings that determine how much stimulation is needed to improve symptoms, a process called programming.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M, St. Jude Medical partner to tackle Parkinson’s disease, depression

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Inquiry.

University of Minnesota researchers and St. Jude Medical are collaborating to treat some of the most challenging and debilitating movement and neuropsychiatric disorders using deep brain stimulation (DBS), a treatment which uses electrical current to directly stimulate parts of the brain. The project is part of MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy), a $36 million biennial investment by the state that aims to solve grand challenges in areas that align with Minnesota’s industries, including discoveries and treatments for brain conditions.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Unmatched insights into deep brain stimulation through MRI

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a procedure that is used to treat movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease, tremor and dystonia. To improve symptoms, a DBS lead (insulated wire) is surgically inserted deep within the brain in sites known to control movement.

Electrical impulses are sent from the neurostimulator, also known as a brain pacemaker, to the lead implanted in the brain. The stimulation changes the pattern of electrical activity in the brain into a more normal pattern, thereby improving symptoms and returning more normal movement to patients.

Choosing the target location for the lead is of critical importance. Standard protocol among physicians around the world is to use a brain atlas developed from two French women who donated their brains to science many years ago. From there physicians superimpose the patient’s own brain MRI images and calculate a plan to implant the electrodes in the brain.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Sen. Jeremy Miller impressed with U and MnDRIVE Neuromodulation research

In late June, the U of M hosted Minnesota Senator Jeremy Miller for an educational visit to learn more about the exciting neuromodulation research and technology taking place as part of the MnDRIVE brain conditions initiative.

During his visit Sen. Miller had the opportunity to tour the campus, meet and welcome new Minnesota men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino and hear from students and faculty about their research.

“I believe it’s extremely important for legislators, especially those on the higher education committee, to see and understand what our higher education institutions are doing,” Miller said.

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