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Stimulating Brains

A podcast about brain stimulation and stimulating brains.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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A podcast about brain stimulation and stimulating brains.

#10: Cameron McIntyre – Pushing the frontier of biophysically plausible DBS models

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Cameron McIntyre and I talk about biophysically plausible deep brain stimulation models that his laboratory has established and continues to refine since about 20 years. Cameron shares insights from a time where DBS modeling was not a thing – how his career choice to step into the realms of medical hospitals as a biomedical engineer had been risky or at least unusual at the time. We learn why the VTA model was originally a step backwards and why there is a large difference between inventions & prototypes vs. commercially useable products with direct clinical impact. Cameron shares his insight on why DBS modeling for movement disorders and for neuropsychiatric diseases are currently asking very different levels of questions. We touch upon amazing recent inventions by the McIntyre lab – such as the holographic basal ganglia pathway atlas and the HoloDBS system to plan surgeries – collaboratively and remotely from different living rooms throughout the United States.

Feb 28 2021

1hr 49mins

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#9: Mac Shine – A thalamus-centric view of basal ganglia, cerebellar and cortical interactions

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Mac Shine and I talk about Mac's recent intriguing opinion paper that may have radical implications for systems and clinical neuroscience. In it, the thalamus mediates between feed-forward type input from cerebellum, sensori nuclei and cortex one one hand and input from the basal ganglia that introduces an element of randomness. By projecting to the cortex in a specific manner, the thalamus can recruit these inputs to shape the attractor landscape of cortical activations. Mac develops this a theory from the cell- to the systems neuroscience level and hints at how Kahneman's system I and II levels of thinking fast and slow could be implemented in the brain. The theory radically extends and partly opposes existing concepts such as the thalamus as a mere relay station and the model of the basal ganglia for action selection proposed by Alexander, DeLong and Strick in 1989 – so there is vast potential of this becoming transformative for deep brain stimulation, as well.

Dec 22 2020

1hr 50mins

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#8: Mojgan Hodaie – Connectivity aided targeting in neuromodulation for neuropathic pain

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In this guest episode, Luka Milosevic talks with Mojgan Hodaie about the neuromodulation for neuropathic pain, how serendipity may lead to a whole novel research field, how our teachers shape the way we think about the brain and how we may learn from each single patient we get in contact with. Prof. Hodaie is a world-wide expert in stereotactic surgery with a special focus on (imaging guided targeting of) neuropathic pain.

The Hodaie lab published the seminal article demonstrating the feasibility of detailed imaging of the course of the cranial nerves in the posterior fossa and a method in which these relate to tumours that arise there, particularly acoustic neuromas.

Prof. Hodaie is a member of the executive board of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery (FIENS) and the founder of the NEURON project (www.neuronproject.org).

Dec 04 2020

55mins

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#7: Patricia Limousin – Subthalamic Nucleus Stimulation: From Parkinson's Disease to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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In this episode, we talk with Patricia Limousin about the early days of DBS in the modern era to the current day and about what the future may hold. Building up on episode #4 with Pierre Pollak, we find out how Patricia experienced programming the first bilateral STN-DBS patient, and what has changed over the last 30 years. Professor Limousin has worked at the UCL Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery since 1997, where she is currently a Professor of Clinical Neurology and Consultant Neurologist. We follow her journey from a PhD with the topic of subthalamic nucleus DBS in Grenoble/Lyon to her move to London, where she helped build one of the leading DBS centers, worldwide.

Nov 21 2020

49mins

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#6: Lone Frank – Robert Heath, the forgotten inventor of Deep Brain Stimulation

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In this episode, Lone Frank shares insight about her book “The Pleasure Shock: The Rise of Deep Brain Stimulation and Its Forgotten Inventor” in which she delved into the academic life of a true pioneer of our field. Robert Heath invented deep brain stimulation in the 1950ies and was a remarkable pioneer of our field. Lone's book takes us on a trip delving deep into the discoveries – but also controversies around Heath and his contemporaries, such as José Delgado and Frank Ervin.

Sep 21 2020

1hr 28mins

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#5: Günther Deuschl – On the importance of transforming Deep Brain Stimulation to evidence based medicine

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In this episode, Günther Deuschl shares insight about his life in neurology and the endeavors to transform deep brain stimulation for movement disorders as established treatment options supported by class one evidence. He has been instrumental in multiple major clinical trials, such as the randomized double-blind clinical trial for DBS to the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson's Disease (Deuschl et al. 2006), a similar study for modulation of the internal pallidum in dystonia (Kupsch et al. 2006) and later the Earlystim trial (Schuepbach et al. 2013) – all published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He was president of the International Movement Disorders Society (MDS) from 2011-2013, Editor in Chief of the journal Movement Disorders and has been awarded numerous high-class awards in our field. He is an international capacity in the field of tremor and leads the study group for tremor in the MDS.

Günther Deuschl takes us on a fascinating journey into the past – where DBS was not as established as it is today – the present and the future – with emerging technologies such as MR-guided focused ultrasound and neuromodulation for psychiatric diseases.

Aug 22 2020

39mins

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#4 Pierre Pollak – How modern-day Deep Brain Stimulation for movement disorders was introduced in Grenoble

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In this episode, Pierre Pollak shares insight about his life in neurology, music and sports and how he introduced modern-day deep brain stimulation for movement disorders together with Alim Louis Benabid and the team in Grenoble in 1987. After his retirement from academia and neurology, Pierre took up playing piano and spending time with physical activity (cycling, winter sports, etc) – and he mentioned that our conversation was the first about deep brain stimulation he had in over five years.

He talks about the first patients that received deep brain stimulation for tremor – the first one using an externalized stimulator approved for animal use only over the course of three weeks. We then advance to the incredible anecdote of how Patricia Limousin switched on the first bilateral STN stimulation to treat a patient suffering from severe akinetic Parkinson’s Disease. For both, it was incredible how the patient could walk – without any help from pharmacological drugs.

Jul 05 2020

55mins

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#3: Marwan Hariz – a strong role for imaging and being critical in the field of DBS

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In this episode, Marwan Hariz shares insight about why imaging is both the past and the future for deep brain stimulation, how its role of being the “court jester” or “stereotaxy police” emerged and why critical discussions are important for our field.

Jun 14 2020

1hr 38mins

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#2 Helen Mayberg – Deep Brain Stimulation for Major Depression

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In this episode, Helen Mayberg shares the experience made when the first major depression patient received deep brain stimulation electrodes, some anecdotes about the past and lots of good advice about the future.

May 29 2020

1hr 21mins

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#1: Christian Moll – from Wernicke to Functional Neurosurgery and Back

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The German submarine sunk a ship that was carrying Freeman and Watts' handbook to Europe, leading to a delayed start of psychosurgery in Germany. Influence of anatomists like Carl Wernicke or Cecile & Oskar Vogt on the field was strong, with eminent figures like Rolf Hassler paving the was to precision in functional neurosurgery.
Christian Moll may be the most experienced electrophysiologist in the DBS field in Germany with a vast knowledge in anatomy. Less known, he is also highly interested in the history of stereotactic surgery. Who would be better to interview for the first episode of "Stimulating Brains", which starts off with the history of our field.

May 24 2020

52mins

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