Our Parkinson's Disease Research: New Hopes for the Future

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Dr. Boris Rosin, IMRIC Researcher
Dr. Boris Rosin, IMRIC Researcher
Born in the city of Kishinev, former USSR, in 1974, Mr. Boris Rosin immigrated to Israel with his parents at the age of 13. He is currently a MD-PhD student at The Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada at The Faculty of Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Dr. Boris Rosin and Prof. Hagai Bergman
Dr. Boris Rosin and Prof. Hagai Bergman

After working for several years as a software development engineer following the completion of a BSc in Mathematics and Computer science at the Tel Aviv University, I decided to pursue a medical degree at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I took my knowledge from my former career and joined Professor Hagai Bergman’s laboratory at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC)at the Faculty of Medicine and Edmond and the Lily Safra Center of Brain research (ELSC). At first I was a software engineer, writing the software for the experiments performed in our lab, investigating Parkinson’s and the neuronal processes underscoring learning.  Prof. Bergman is an incredible researcher and one of the top in his field of Parkinson’s disease. I am very fortunate to say that today I am working under his guidance in my PhD research.

My research is on Parkinson’s disease (PD). The so-far incurable disease is characterized by non-motor and motor symptoms, with the latter group including mainly muscle rigidity, resting tremor and bradykinesia. A family of techniques, collectively labeled as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), has been used for treatment of tremulous disorders, first and foremost PD. The essence of the therapy is the implantation of a stimulating electrode in a deep region of the brain and the delivery of high-frequency low-current stimulus which brings about a significant alleviation of the main PD motor symptoms. Despite being very widespread, the mechanisms underlying DBS action are poorly understood. Our research aims at improving DBS, and specifically to perform closed-loop DBS, in which the stimulus will not be delivered constantly as it is today but rather in reaction to the ongoing brain activity.

We have recently discovered that real-time adaptive DBS paradigms, which deliver stimulus according to the ongoing brain activity (closed-loop DBS) alleviated PD motor symptoms and reduced abnormal neural activity more efficiently than standard DBS. This study was published in the prestigious neuroscience journal, Neuron (October 20 issue, Cell Press). The results provided new insight into brain activity underlying PD pathophysiology and suggested that clinical improvement was achieved by disruption of a particular pattern from a variety of abnormal activity seen in the Parkinsonian brain. Dr. Boris Rosin

This new Deep Brain Stimulation strategy has the potential of being instrumental in the treatment of additional brain disorders in which a pathological brain activity pattern can be recognized and targeted by closed-loop stimulation. These disorders also include prevalent psychiatric disorders such as Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, Depression and even Schizophrenia, which displays pathological patterns of brain activity that bear certain similarities to those seen in Parkinson's disease.

For me, the results are very exciting and I believe this could be an excellent starting point to what will ultimately be a closed-loop DBS system used in Parkinson’s patients. I am both thrilled at this prospect and grateful to Professor Hagai Bergman for the opportunity to work together with him and to add this research to a long series of his manuscripts and breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of Parkinson's disease.