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Neurobiological correlates of TMS

Principal Investigator:
  • Doris Doudet, Univeristy of British Columbia
Team Members:
  • Lara Boyd, University of British Columbia
  • Martin McKeown, Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia
  • Martin Parent, Université Laval
  • John O'Kusky, University of British Columbia
  • Alex MacKay, University of British Columbia
  • Fidel Vila-Rodriguez, University of British Columbia
  • Genome BC
  • University of British Columbia
  • Djavad Mowfaghian Centre for Brain Health
  • Université Laval

Project Overview

Noninvasive brain stimulation is gaining acceptance as an alternate therapy for an increasing number of disorders, including major depression, schizophrenia, stroke and Parkinson’s disease. A form of noninvasive brain stimulation called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is less invasive and safer as compared to other brain stimulation therapies; however, lack of knowledge of its basic mode(s) of action impairs the development of better, more effective stimulation paradigms. Indeed, little is known about 1) how TMS affects brain cells and chemistry, 2) what impact it has on neurons, and 3) how its use alters the major sensory-motor, cognitive and emotional networks that underpin behavior. Further, because we do not know how it modulates brain cell function in the healthy brain, it is impossible to rationally refine its use for the treatment of neurological disorders. This project aims to create a generalizable framework that informs the understanding of the basic cellular processes induced by TMS. Dr. Doudet and her team will use a common therapeutic TMS protocol in a relevant non-human primate species and combine two in vivo non-invasive neuroimaging techniques to assess cellular and molecular changes associated with TMS. The proposed study will provide important scientific data that will clarify both the functional and morphological consequences of TMS. Importantly, the team will provide safety data to further refine the use of TMS as a therapeutic option. The team’s data will be key to improving stimulation protocols and in turn increase the clinical benefits of noninvasive brain stimulation for numerous individuals with neurologic or mood disorders.