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ERC

DBSModel Report Summary

Project ID: 646923
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DBSModel (Multiscale Modelling of the Neuromuscular System for Closed Loop Deep Brain Stimulation)

Reporting period: 2015-08-01 to 2017-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective therapy for treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Despite its success, the mechanisms of DBS are not understood and there is a need to improve DBS to improve long-term stimulation across a wider patient population, limit side-effects, and extend stimulator battery life. Currently DBS operates in ‘open-loop’, with stimulus parameters empirically set. Closed-loop DBS, which would adjust stimulation parameters based on the state of the system, has the potential to overcome current limitations to increase therapeutic efficacy while reducing side-effects, costs and energy. Several key questions need to be addressed before closed loop DBS can be implemented clinically.

This project is developing a new multiscale model of the neuromuscular system for closed-loop DBS. The model will simulate neural sensing and stimulation spanning scales from the cellular to the system level, encompassing the electric field around the electrode, the effect on individual neurons and neural networks, and the generation of muscle force. This will involve integration across multiple temporal and spatial scales, in a complex system with incomplete knowledge of system architecture. Experiments will be conducted to validate the model, and identify new biomarkers of neural activity that can be used with signals from the brain to enable continuous symptom monitoring. The model will be used to design a new control strategy for closed-loop DBS that can accommodate the nonlinear nature of the system, and short- and long-term changes in system behaviour.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Models of the activity of networks of neurons in the brain in Parkinson’s disease are being developed in parallel with models of the electric field surrounding the DBS electrodes. A new model of muscle activity in Parkinson’s disease is being also being developed. Experiments are being conducted to examine changes in muscle activity in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

This research will provide new insights into the changes that take place in PD and the mechanisms by which DBS exerts its therapeutic influence. This knowledge will form the basis for a new strategy for closed-loop DBS, ready for testing in patients, with the potential to improve patient outcomes in PD and fundamentally change the way in which implanted devices utilise electrical stimulation to modulate neural activity.
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