health day reporter
Monday, September 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Researchers think they’ve figured out why Causes of Parkinson’s disease A person’s limbs become so rigid that sometimes they feel frozen in place.
Using a robotic chair equipped with sensors, a research team compared the activation of leg muscles in Parkinson’s disease patients to brain called the subthalamic nucleus.
According to September 7th published in Science Translational Medicine .
“Our findings help to reveal distinct changes in brain activity associated with leg movement,” said senior researcher Eduardo Martin Moraud, a junior principal investigator at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.
“We could confirm that the same modulations underlie the encoding of walking states — for example, changes between standing, walking, turning, avoiding obstacles, or climbing stairs — and walking obstacles, such as gait freezes,” Morod said. Say.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease nervous system Mainly affects the motor function of the body.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, people with Parkinson’s disease have difficulty regulating the size and speed of their movements. They struggle to start or stop movements, linking different movements to complete tasks such as standing, or completing one movement before starting the next.
The Cleveland Clinic neuroscientist James Liao, PhD, reviewed the findings, saying that the subthalamic nucleus is part of the basal ganglia, a network of brain structures known to control many aspects of the body’s motor system.
“This study is the first to convincingly demonstrate that the basal ganglia controls the vitality of leg movement,” Liao said. “Importantly, this links basal ganglia dysfunction with gait disturbances in Parkinson’s disease.”
To study Parkinson’s impact on walking, the researchers built a robotic chair where a person could voluntarily extend their legs from their knees, or the chair could do it for them.
The researchers recruited 18 Parkinson’s patients with severe motor fluctuations and problems with walking gait and balance. Each patient was implanted with electrodes that track electrical signals from their subthalamic nucleus and provide deep brain stimulation to that brain region.
Impulses from the subthalamic nucleus were tracked while patients were using a chair, and then while they were standing and walking.
“The fact that all of these aspects of walking are encoded in that area of the brain leads us to believe that it contributes to both walking function and dysfunction, making it an interesting area to treat and/or predict problems before they arise,” Morod said. . “We can use this understanding to design real-time decoding algorithms that can predict those aspects of walking in real time using only brain signals.”
In fact, the researchers did create several computer algorithms that differentiated brain signals from those of normal stride, which were present in patients with impaired gait. The team was also able to identify episodes of freezing in patients during short walk tests.
“The authors demonstrate that periods of gait freezing can be predicted from recorded neural activity,” Liao said. “Accurate predictions will allow algorithms to be developed to change [deep brain stimulation] Patterns that respond to gait freezing, shortening or even completely eliminating freezing events. “
The findings could help inform future technologies aimed at improving mobility in Parkinson’s disease patients, Moraud said.
“There is hope that the next generation of deep brain stimulation therapies, which will operate in a closed loop – meaning they will deliver electrical stimulation in an intelligent and precise way based on the feedback each patient needs – may help to better relieve stress state and balance defects,” Morod said.
“However, closed-loop protocols depend on signals that can help control stimulus delivery in real time. Our results open up this possibility,” he added.
Dr. Michael Okun, National Medical Advisor to the Parkinson’s Foundation, agrees.
“Understanding the brain networks that support walking in Parkinson’s disease is important for the future development of therapeutics,” Okun said. “The key question for this research team was whether the information they gathered was sufficient to drive a neuroprosthetic system to improve walking ability in Parkinson’s.”
The Parkinson’s Foundation has more on walking and movement difficulties associated with Parkinson’s.
Sources: Eduardo Martin Moraud, PhD, Junior Principal Investigator, University of Lausanne, Switzerland; James Liao, MD, neurologist, Cleveland Clinic; Michael Okun, MD, National Medical Advisor, Parkinson’s Foundation, New York City; Science Translational MedicineSeptember 7, 2022