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Is Deep Brain Stimulation Neuroprotective in Parkinson's Disease?

Description 
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating neurological disorder, primarily associated with inability to initiate and control voluntary movement. These symptoms result from the loss of brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine, which acts as a signal to initiate movement. Current PD therapies only treat the symptoms but do not halt or slow the dopamine cell loss in PD. Aside from medications, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a highly effective therapy for the symptoms of PD. DBS is a procedure which uses a surgically implanted, battery-operated medical device called a neurostimulator (like a heart pacemaker) to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas in the brain that control movement, blocking the abnormal nerve signals that cause PD symptoms. Over the last few decades DBS has been shown to provide remarkable therapeutic effect on carefully selected patients. DBS is a relatively safe procedure that has shown to improve daily tasks and therefore quality of life of PD patients. Whilst recent clinical and animal studies have hinted that DBS may also slow the progression of the disease in PD, the findings are inconclusive due to the inadequate patient sample size and limitations of the animal models used. In the current proposal, we will determine whether DBS can slow or halt the disease progression in a clinically relevant animal model of PD. Successful completion of this proof-of-concept study will provide the essential steps toward finally developing a treatment that slows this relentlessly progressive and disabling illness.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here: https://www.monash.edu/admissions/entry-requirements/minimum
Keywords 
Parkinson's disease, Deep brain stimulation, Neuroprotection, Subthalamic nucleus,
School 
Available options 
PhD/Doctorate
Masters by research
Honours
BMedSc(Hons)
Graduate Diploma
Short projects
Joint PhD/Exchange Program
Time commitment 
Full-time
Part-time
Top-up scholarship funding available 
No
Physical location 
Monash Medical Centre Clayton
Co-supervisors 
Prof 
Dominic Thyagarajan

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