Deep brain stimulation: a mysterious success or a clue to help localize the causes of Parkinsonism?

Published on June 2, 2014   28 min

Other Talks in the Series: Parkinson's Disease

0:00
Hello. This talk is about deep brain stimulation, a kind of surgical treatment for Parkinson's disease. My name's Gordon Arbuthnott. I worked most of my life in Edinburgh University in Scotland, but for the last six years, I lived and worked in the beautiful tropical island of Okinawa at the Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology Graduate University. I'm interested in this subject because of experiments I've done but mainly because I suspect this mysterious treatment is not fully understood, may actually hold an important clue about what actually goes wrong in Parkinson's disease.
0:42
This summary diagram lists the parts of brain that we think go wrong in Parkinson's disease. They represent the various parts of one of the motor systems of the brain. We start in the output layer of the cerebral cortex in layer five. We then go through several basal ganglia nuclei to the thalamus and eventually back to the cortex in layer one. This particular arrow was a big disappointment for me. We spent years tracing the connections from layer five through several basal ganglia nuclei and finally to thalamus and to cortex a few hundred microns from where we started four or five years earlier. But in the basal ganglia, the function is determined by dopamine. And of course dopamine is lost in Parkinson's disease. So it's in this big arrow that we have to find the causes of the symptoms of the disease.
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Deep brain stimulation: a mysterious success or a clue to help localize the causes of Parkinsonism?

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