Biomedical engineers in the laboratory of Christopher R. Butson, PhD at the Scientific Computing & Imaging (SCI) Institute are part of a team currently investigating the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat patients suffering from traumatic brain injury. The goal of this investigational therapy is to restore function through electrical stimulation. The first subject in this trial study is a woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of a car accident 18 years ago. Since undergoing DBS surgery, she has shown considerable improvements in her daily life, from experiencing less fatigue to improved cognitive function. This study demonstrates the potential impact of DBS therapy for others living with debilitating brain injuries.
The first case of this clinical trial was recently reported in the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/13/health/implant-brain-injury.html), highlighting the interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers at the University of Utah, Stanford University, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Harvard Medical School. The results were also presented at the recent BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting in Washington, D.C. Andrew Janson, a SCI graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering PhD program, recently published a pipeline that allows interactive simulation and visualization of the effects of DBS. This approach was used to create a patient-specific model of this woman’s brain that was used for pre-operative surgical planning and post-operative management. The broad goal of this research is to increase the precision of DBS therapy, not only for patients suffering from traumatic brain injury but also for patients being treated using DBS for a range of other neurological and psychiatric conditions ranging from Tourette syndrome to epilepsy.
Janson, Andrew P., and Christopher R. Butson. 2018. “Targeting Neuronal Fiber Tracts for Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy Using Interactive, Patient-Specific Models.” Journal of Visualized Experiments, no. 138(August). doi:10.3791/57292.