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Vibrotactile coordinated reset (vCR)

Posted by Hugh on April 20, 2022, at 12:52:32

vCR, using a stimulation device called a VT Brain Glove, is being studied as a treatment for Parkinson's. It disrupts abnormal synchrony in the brain. It's expected to be available by the summer of 2023. I'd be interested in trying it off-label for depression and anxiety. It significantly decreases the amplitude of high beta (21-30 hertz), which could have a dramatic impact on depression and anxiety.

Quote from article:

Although the researchers didn't set out to study other symptoms, they were surprised to find patients reported the glove also alleviated mood swings, behavior changes, depression and the loss of smell and taste.

"It seemed like magic," said Stanford Medicine neurobiologist Bill Newsome, PhD, recalling the first time he saw videos showing improvements for Parkinson's patients before and after using the glove.

"But [Peter] Tass' modeling studies suggest a plausible mechanism whereby fingertip stimulation could alter abnormally synchronous activity in the central nervous system."

"My goal is to create treatments that are more effective and less brutal on the body by simply utilizing the self-organization power within the body," Tass said.

Using computer simulations, Tass and his team discovered that a patterned stimulus that vibrates at a frequency of 100 to 300 hertz (cycles per second) can desynchronize neuron-firing. They called this coordinated reset stimulation.

Further, Tass discovered how to make the benefits of vibratory stimulus last, something that eluded Charcot and others who used vibrations to treat Parkinson's: Pauses are crucial between treatments and within stimulus patterns.

The body needs to unlearn abnormal neural connectivity patterns, Tass explained. Just as taking small breaks increases the effectiveness of study or exercise, pauses improve the treatment's effectiveness.

Fingertips have many sensory neurons, which means a large portion of the sensory cortex of the brain is dedicated to receiving signals from them. This is important because a noninvasive therapy must act on a sufficiently large portion of the brain to have similar benefits as deep brain stimulation. (This is also why fingertips are ideal for Braille, but not tattoos.)

The outcome of this research is a strappy, skin-exposing glove that looks like something out of a sci-fi film. The glove is lightweight and can be worn while performing regular daily activities. It's attached to a device that delivers bursts of 250 hertz (a buzz slightly stronger than a cat's purr) through pin-sized openings on plastic pads strapped to the index, middle, ring and pinky fingertips.

Each glove collectively stimulates a patch of skin smaller than a dime.

The researchers assessed the patients' movements and brain activity off medication at the start of the study, at three months, and during follow-up visits approximately every three months thereafter.

These pilot studies revealed that the vibrations were well-tolerated, produced no side effects, improved the patient's motor performance and reduced Parkinson-related neuronal synchrony in the brain.

"There's currently no middle ground between drugs and invasive treatments for Parkinson's patients," said Leila Montaser Kouhsari, MD, PhD, a movement disorders neurologist at Stanford Medicine.

"Although much painstaking research remains to be done, this therapy is potentially game-changing because it is completely noninvasive," Newsome said.

Complete article:

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