Deep brain stimulation and exercise restore movement in atax
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In new research, scientists show that a combination of deep brain stimulation (DBS) and exercise has potential benefits for treating ataxia, a rare genetic neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive irreversible problems with movement.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) relieves motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Here, researchers demonstrate the potential benefits of DBS in a model of ataxia by targeting the cerebellum, a major motor center in the brain.

Investigators use the Car8 mouse model of hereditary ataxia to test the potential of using cerebellar nuclei DBS plus physical activity to restore movement.

They noticed that;

--While low-frequency cerebellar DBS alone improves Car8 mobility and muscle function, adding skilled exercise to the treatment regimen additionally rescues limb coordination and stepping. Importantly, the gains persist in the absence of further stimulation.

--Because DBS promotes the most dramatic improvements in mice with early-stage ataxia, they postulated that cerebellar circuit function affects stimulation efficacy.

--Indeed, genetically eliminating Purkinje cell neurotransmission blocked the ability of DBS to reduce ataxia.

Conclusively, the findings of this newer study may be valuable in devising future DBS strategies.

Nature Communications
Source: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21417-8
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