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Fedor Panov, Emily Levin, Coralie de Hemptinne, Nicole C. Swann, Salman Qasim, Svjetlana Miocinovic, Jill L. Ostrem and Philip A. Starr

OBJECTIVE

Contemporary theories of the pathophysiology of movement disorders emphasize abnormal oscillatory activity in basal ganglia-thalamocortical loops, but these have been studied in humans mainly using depth recordings. Recording from the surface of the cortex using electrocorticography (ECoG) provides a much higher amplitude signal than depth recordings, is less susceptible to deep brain stimulation (DBS) artifacts, and yields a surrogate measure of population spiking via “broadband gamma” (50–200 Hz) activity. Therefore, a technical approach to movement disorders surgery was developed that employs intraoperative ECoG as a research tool.

METHODS

One hundred eighty-eight patients undergoing DBS for the treatment of movement disorders were studied under an institutional review board–approved protocol. Through the standard bur hole exposure that is clinically indicated for DBS lead insertion, a strip electrode (6 or 28 contacts) was inserted to cover the primary motor or prefrontal cortical areas. Localization was confirmed by the reversal of the somatosensory evoked potential and intraoperative CT or 2D fluoroscopy. The ECoG potentials were recorded at rest and during a variety of tasks and analyzed offline in the frequency domain, focusing on activity between 3 and 200 Hz. Strips were removed prior to closure. Postoperative MRI was inspected for edema, signal change, or hematoma that could be related to the placement of the ECoG strip.

RESULTS

One hundred ninety-eight (99%) strips were successfully placed. Two ECoG placements were aborted due to resistance during the attempted passage of the electrode. Perioperative surgical complications occurred in 8 patients, including 5 hardware infections, 1 delayed chronic subdural hematoma requiring evacuation, 1 intraparenchymal hematoma, and 1 venous infarction distant from the site of the recording. None of these appeared to be directly related to the use of ECoG.

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative ECoG has long been used in neurosurgery for functional mapping and localization of seizure foci. As applied during DBS surgery, it has become an important research tool for understanding the brain networks in movement disorders and the mechanisms of therapeutic stimulation. In experienced hands, the technique appears to add minimal risk to surgery.

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Nicole C. Swann, Coralie de Hemptinne, Svjetlana Miocinovic, Salman Qasim, Jill L. Ostrem, Nicholas B. Galifianakis, Marta San Luciano, Sarah S. Wang, Nathan Ziman, Robin Taylor and Philip A. Starr

OBJECTIVE

Dysfunction of distributed neural networks underlies many brain disorders. The development of neuromodulation therapies depends on a better understanding of these networks. Invasive human brain recordings have a favorable temporal and spatial resolution for the analysis of network phenomena but have generally been limited to acute intraoperative recording or short-term recording through temporarily externalized leads. Here, the authors describe their initial experience with an investigational, first-generation, totally implantable, bidirectional neural interface that allows both continuous therapeutic stimulation and recording of field potentials at multiple sites in a neural network.

METHODS

Under a physician-sponsored US Food and Drug Administration investigational device exemption, 5 patients with Parkinson's disease were implanted with the Activa PC+S system (Medtronic Inc.). The device was attached to a quadripolar lead placed in the subdural space over motor cortex, for electrocorticography potential recordings, and to a quadripolar lead in the subthalamic nucleus (STN), for both therapeutic stimulation and recording of local field potentials. Recordings from the brain of each patient were performed at multiple time points over a 1-year period.

RESULTS

There were no serious surgical complications or interruptions in deep brain stimulation therapy. Signals in both the cortex and the STN were relatively stable over time, despite a gradual increase in electrode impedance. Canonical movement-related changes in specific frequency bands in the motor cortex were identified in most but not all recordings.

CONCLUSIONS

The acquisition of chronic multisite field potentials in humans is feasible. The device performance characteristics described here may inform the design of the next generation of totally implantable neural interfaces. This research tool provides a platform for translating discoveries in brain network dynamics to improved neurostimulation paradigms.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01934296 (clinicaltrials.gov)