MAR 15, 2017 12:00 PM PDT

Oscillations, deep brain stimulation and the functional network in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome

Presented At Neuroscience 2017
C.E. CREDITS: P.A.C.E. CE | Florida CE
  • Chief, Human Brain and Behavior Laboratory, Department of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery University Hospital of Cologne
      Dr. Rowshanak Hashemiyoon is the head of the Human Brain and Behavior Laboratory in the Department of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery at the University Hospital of Cologne in Germany. Her work unites scientific research with clinical care. It focuses on identifying the altered network dynamics underlying the dysfunctional brain states of neuropsychiatric and neurologic disorders as well as fosters the development of novel treatments which alleviate the symptoms of these disorders. She is currently involved in the study and development of time- and structure-adapted neuromodulation for disease-tailored treatment.

      A computational neuroscientist by training, she received her PhD with John Chapin from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia while studying the nonlinear dynamics of oscillatory behavior in the subcortical visual system. After a post-doctoral fellowship with David McCormick at the Yale University School of Medicine where she then studied the dynamics of thalamocortical activity in the somatosensory system during normal and epileptic states, she moved to the Center for Complex Systems in Florida to investigate large-scale human brain dynamics during dyadic interaction. While at the University of Miami, she reported the first longitudinal study in humans of the effects of DBS on the underlying neuropathophysiology in a psychiatric disorder. Her work described the dynamics of neuronal activation in correlation with the symptomatology observed in Tourette syndrome, offering important insights into tic genesis and expression.

      She has now expanded her work to studying the neuropathomechanisms of whole network dysfunction in a range of psychiatric and movement disorders in humans, including OCD, addiction and Parkinson's disease.


    Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder exhibiting both motor and behavioral impairment. Like most neuropsychiatric disorders, its pathophysiology has yet to be elucidated. Such disorders are best understood, nonetheless, by looking at the altered network dynamics confounding normal information processing. To this end, the cortico-basal ganglia–thalamo–cortical network (CBGTC), which is purported to be essential for action gating and the conversion of goal-directed behavior to automated behaviors, is fundamentally implicated in the pathophysiology of GTS, as well as many other neuropsychiatric disorders.

    Often targeting the CBGTC, deep brain stimulation (DBS) – a relatively new therapy - has proven to be a successful application for the amelioration of refractory symptoms in various neuropsychiatric disorders, including GTS. Although its mechanism of action is not well understood, it is suggested to occur via the modulation of dysregulated networks. This theory is supported by the reports of correlation between improved symptomatology and the observed changes in synchronization of oscillatory rhythms. While these data consequently suggest an important role for oscillatory rhythms, the scope of these rhythms in the pathological network and the mechanisms which exact their modification in the improved disease state has yet to be determined.

    In this talk, we will discover the strength of DBS as an investigative tool by examining recordings from the brains of GTS patients undergoing therapy. We will furthermore explore how alterations in the coordination matrix of the CBGTC network are reflected in the oscillatory dynamics correlated with therapeutic response to DBS, thus gleaning powerful new insights into the neuropathodynamics of the biological basis of this disorder.

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