May 2019 Research Roundup


Amelioration of the Nigrostriatal Pathway Facilitated by Ultrasound-mediated Neurotrophic Delivery in Early Parkinson’s Disease

Focused ultrasound plus microbubbles can be used to locally and reversibly open the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which has historically prevented most drugs from entering the brain. In Parkinson’s disease (PD), neurodegenerative damage to one of the major dopamine pathways–the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway–can be found in early-stage PD. Elisa Konofagou’s group at Columbia University recently conducted experiments to determine whether the use of focused ultrasound and microbubbles to open the BBB would allow neurotrophic factors to cross it and repair the damaged pathway. Could this treatment possibly curb PD’s rapid neurodegeneration process? Could it also improve the function of damaged neurons? See the Journal of Controlled Release >

Impact of Skull Density Ratio on Efficacy and Safety of Magnetic Resonance–guided Focused Ultrasound Treatment of Essential Tremor

An international group of clinicians from 16 medical centers collaborated to determine whether skull density ratio (SDR) had an impact on safety or efficacy for patients with essential tremor who had been treated with focused ultrasound ablation. The retrospective analysis of 189 patients assessed whether the SDR measurements correlated with ease of achieving a peak voxel temperature of 54°C – the rate of the most severe procedure-related adverse event – and improvement in tremor scores one year after treatment. Which patients have the optimal SDR for this procedure? See the Journal of Neurosurgery >