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LSA Fellows 16 

Project titel: Spinal cord stimulation for treating Parkinson's disease-related movement deficits

Projectleader: Dr. Evelyn Dylda

    Dylda mini


When our ability to fluently move through our environment is compromised, it threatens our fundamental safety and dramatically decreases quality of life. One of the most common types of movement disorders is Parkinson's disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder. PD patients often experience freezing of gait (FoG), sudden short periods of inability to start walking or failure to continue to move forward, as if their feet are ‘glued to the ground’. This movement deficit is variable across patients, and often resistant to traditional treatment methods. Recently it has been suggested that electrical stimulation of the spinal cord may help this subset of PD patients, however, the clinically-relevant criteria for success as well as the underlying physiological mechanisms are unknown. Therefore, understanding how SCS treatment influences brain activity is essential to improve and effectively target SCS therapies for patients.

Accordingly, this project will investigate the effects of SCS on brain activity in general, and specifically on brain areas known to be impaired in patients experiencing FoG. Specifically we will map distinct neuronal networks engaged during SCS, characterize patterns of neuronal activity in sensorimotor regions of the cerebral cortex under various SCS parameters, and determine the fundamental neural circuitry necessary for motor deficit improvements with SCS in an animal model of FoG. Together, this project will provide vital knowledge regarding how clinically viable SCS treatments alter brain activity, which will directly advance the clinical application of this method to Parkinson’s disease-related movement disorders.


Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg

LIN Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology Magdeburg

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