Home Medizin Nicht-invasive Hirnstimulation kann spezifische Gehirnmechanismen verändern, die mit dem menschlichen Verhalten verbunden sind

Nicht-invasive Hirnstimulation kann spezifische Gehirnmechanismen verändern, die mit dem menschlichen Verhalten verbunden sind

von NFI Redaktion

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities have shown for the first time that non-invasive brain stimulation can alter a specific brain mechanism directly related to human behavior. This is a significant breakthrough in the quest for new therapies to treat brain disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

The study was recently published in Nature Communications, a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal.

Researchers used a technique called „transcranial alternating current stimulation“ to modulate brain activity. This method, also known as neuromodulation, involves applying a small electrical current to the brain, shifting the timing of when brain cells are active. This modulation of neuronal timing is linked to neuroplasticity, the alteration of connections between brain cells necessary for human behavior, learning, and cognition.

Prior studies showed that brain activity was temporally bound to the stimulation. What we found in this new study is that this relationship slowly changed and the brain adapted over time as we added external stimulation. This revealed that brain activity changed in a way that we did not expect.


Alexander Opitz, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota

This phenomenon is termed „neuronal phase precession,“ where brain activity gradually changes over time in relation to a repeating pattern, such as an external event or, in this case, non-invasive stimulation. In this research, all three methods examined (computer models, humans, and animals) showed that external stimulation can alter brain activity over time.

„The timing of this repeating pattern directly influences brain processes, such as how we navigate space, learn, and remember,“ said Opitz.

This discovery of a new technique demonstrates how the brain adapts to external stimulation. This technique can enhance or diminish brain activity, but is most effective when targeting specific brain functions that influence behavior. This can enhance both long-term memory and learning. The long-term goal is to use this technique in the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Opitz hopes that this discovery will lead to improved knowledge and technology being brought to clinical applications, potentially resulting in more personalized therapies for schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

In addition to Opitz, the research team included co-first authors Miles Wischnewski and Harry Tran. Other team members from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Biomedical Engineering included Zhihe Zhao, Zachary Haigh, Nipun Perera, Ivan Alekseichuk, Sina Shirinpour, and Jonna Rotteveel. This study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jan Zimmermann, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

This work was primarily supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) along with the Behavior and Brain Research Foundation and the Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and Innovation Economy (MnDRIVE) Initiative at the University of Minnesota. Computational resources were provided by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI).

Source:

Journal Reference:

Wischnewski, M., et al. (2024). Induced neuronal phase precession by exogenous electric fields. Nature Communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-45898-5.

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