Low Intensity Focused Ultrasound as a novel therapeutic strategy in Parkinson’s disease

Investigators: Fady Girgis, Davide Martino, Camila Aquino, Samuel Pichardo, Zelma Kiss, Bruce Pike

Low Intensity Focused Ultrasound (LIFU) is a novel, non-invasive neuromodulation technology that is highly promising for the treatment of complex network movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), dystonia and essential tremor. LIFU has the potential to modulate -without altering the structure of the brain like surgery would do- the activity of deep brain regions that can otherwise be reached only through surgical approaches.

Our team is launching in the next month the first study of its kind that applies LIFU to control PD symptoms through the resetting of brain networks (similar to deep brain stimulation/DBS but without implanting electrodes in the brain, just using ultrasound acoustic energy).

We will explore the effects of LIFU in PD by studying its effects on brain connectivity and chemistry using MRI-based functional imaging and spectroscopy.

This study will help us understand the specific parameters of LIFU that should be used for PD, the extent of its effect on tremor and other symptoms of PD, and whether LIFU can predict response to other therapies such as DBS.