International Symposium | 19th to 22nd September


NEWroscience 2023


Peter A. Tass

Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, USA.


Vibrotactile Fingertip Stimulation for the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and Possible Applications to Epilepsy

Abnormally strong neuronal synchronization is a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD), epilepsy and other brain disorders. For instance, in medically refractory PD patients, standard deep brain stimulation (DBS) reduces specific symptoms during stimulus delivery. Coordinated Reset (CR)-DBS is a computationally developed technique which uses dedicated patterns of electrical stimuli to specifically counteract abnormal neuronal synchronization by desynchronization. The very goal of CR stimulation is to make neuronal populations unlearn abnormal synaptic connectivity patterns, in this way inducing long-lasting relief. Long-lasting therapeutic and desynchronizing CR-DBS effects were demonstrated in Parkinsonian (MPTP) monkeys and externalized PD patients. To provide a non-invasive alternative to DBS, we developed vibrotactile Coordinated Reset (vCR) fingertip stimulation. To this end, instead of administering electrical bursts through depth electrodes, we non-invasively deliver weak vibratory bursts in a CR mode to patients’ fingertips. In pilot studies in PD patients, vCR fingertip stimulation turned out to cause a statistically and clinically significant reduction of MDS-UPDRS III scores together with a significant reduction of high beta (21-30 Hz) power in the sensorimotor cortex, both observed after medication withdrawal. In addition, CR was successfully tested in vitro and in vivo in pre-clinical epilepsy models and will soon be tested in patients with epilepsy.