Can We Fix Dementia with Deep Brain Stimulation?
"Lewy Body Dementia" is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, but we don't understand how it damages patients' ability to think and function. We suspect that part of the problem is that the brain goes "out of sync" like a misfiring engine, that is, has problems of signal timing. In an animal model, we want to see if we can detect signs of damaged brain signal synchronization, and see if we can improve or fix this either with drugs or a kind of "brain pacemaker". If we can show these treatments work in the animal model, it could lead to major improvements in therapies for these patients.
Deep brain stimulation is incredibly effective for some neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Despite the success of this technique, little is actually known about how it works. The first half of this project involves implanting stimulation electrodes into the brains of mice, and looking for the changes in neuron firing as well as brain rhythms that result from stimulating particular areas of the brain. The second part is to see if the performance of animals with impaired cognition can be improved with brain stimulation.
- Dr Chris French, Group Leader
This research project is available to Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.
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Royal Melbourne Hospital
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