New Webinar: Reversible Disconnection of Deep Brain Circuits with Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound of White Matter Tracts: A Pilot Study in Major Depressive Disorder

Date and Time: 
May 23, 2024 - 15:00 (BST) 

Salvador M. Guinjoan, M.D., Ph.D.
Principal Investigator, Laureate Institute for Brain Research
Adult Psychiatrist, Laureate Psychiatric Clinic & Hospital
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Oklahoma University
Research Associate Professor, Tulsa University

Burgeoning in vitro evidence demonstrates that low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) operates mechanosensitive potassium channels in nodes of Ranvier, thus hyperpolarizing and possibly disrupting saltatory conduction in myelinated axons. We translated these findings to explore potential in vivo human applications, and targeted with LIFU a historical psychosurgical target for depression, the anterior limb of the internal capsule. Specifically, we focused on individually-defined white matter tracts connecting the thalamus with both orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortices in a group of patients suffering from Major Depressive Disorder, and measured resting state fMRI functional connectivity between the thalamus and diverse regions of the cortex. Preliminary results indicate functional disconnection between the areas reached by the sonicated white matter tracts, along with top-down peripheral autonomic and behavioral effects. If confirmed in a larger sample, we hope that these results could pave the way for probing, in a reversible and noninvasive manner, the causative role of deep large-scale circuits in the generation of symptoms of depression.

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