The role of the subthalamic nucleus (SBN) in perceptual decision-making in humans
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"Help us understand how electrical signals in the brain translate to the making of decisions"
Age: 18-100
Healthy Volunteers: No
Keywords: Parkinson's disease, STN DBS surgery
Type: Other
The purpose of this research is to help us understand how the brain makes decisions. Several mental diseases, such as disorders of addiction, are due to problems with the way people make decisions. These diseases are very common. When these mental diseases are severe, sometimes medications are no longer effective. In these difficult cases, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery may be an option. However, until we understand how the electrical signals in the brain translate to the making of decisions, we cannot design surgeries to treat these patients. Therefore, this study will help us understand the specific ways the brain makes certain types of decisions. We hope that this research will help us develop new treatments for people with mental diseases
This study requires

There will be two on-site research visits in this study. The first on-site visit will occur before the surgery scheduled by your doctor, and will likely be right after your neurosurgery clinic visit. In this first visit, you will sit at a computer and play a simple computer game that tests your thinking. The session will take about 20 minutes.

The second research visit will occur during your Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. During your surgery, you will be asked to play the same computer thinking game that you played before. You will play the game for 15-30 minutes, depending on the length of your surgery. The same brain signals that are normally monitored during your DBS operation will also be monitored while you play the computer game.

At random times while playing the game, your brain will be stimulated with a mild electrical current. This electrical current will be much lower than the current that we will use as part of your routine DBS surgery, and does not carry risk. This is to help us better understand the function of this area of the brain and its role in the game.

Note that this study will add 15-30 minutes to your total operation time, but will not add any additional risk.

The first onsite research visits will occur at UC Davis in the ACC clinic exam rooms in the same building as your normally scheduled neurosurgery and neurology doctors visits. The second onsite visit will be in the operating room, during your DBS surgery, at the UC Davis Medical Center main hospital

Who can participate

Inclusion Criteria:

(1) Adult men and women with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, who are candidates for STN DBS placement surgery, and who will receive this treatment as part of their routine care.

Exclusion criteria:

(1) Patients less than 18 years of age. (2) Patients who are not candidates for STN DBS placement surgery. (3) Adults unable to consent (4) Prisoners (5) Patients who are unable to perform the perceptual decision-making task

Benefits and risks of participating
We cannot promise any benefits to you or others from your taking part in this research. We hope that your participation in this research will help us develop new treatments for people with severe mental diseases.

There are minimal risks to this study. The following risks may result:

1) Physical Risk: Physical risks to the study include minor, temporary, movement or sensation symptoms that may result from standard stimulation during the surgery. If such side effects occur, the stimulation parameters will be adjusted so that you do not experience any side effects or discomfort.

2) Psychological Risks: Boredom, uncertainty, or fatigue may occur while you are playing the computer thinking game. If this occurs, you can stop playing the computer at any time.

3) Privacy Risks: Each subject will be assigned a unique identification number and there will be no reference to your name or any other personal identifier in any subsequent publication. All personal identifiers will be destroyed upon completion of the research and the required storage period. Data files will be stored on a secured server, which will be password-protected and access to data files will be given only to IRB approved research personnel.

4) Legal Risks: There are no legal risks.

5) Social Risks: There are no social risks.

6) Economic Risks: There are no economic risks.
Study duration and period
Eight months
Recruitment period
From June 8, 2017
UC Davis Department of Neurosurgery
4800 Y Street
Suite 3740
Sacramento, CA 95817

Have any questions or want to learn more? Leave your contact details below and the research team will reach out to you.


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