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C4: Real time metabolite sensing for feedback control of behaviour in neurological disorders

N.N., Cornelius Weiller#, Gerald Urban


# = Neurology Centre, University Medical Center
= Laboratory for Sensors, IMTEK


Scientific background

Migraine affects approximately 15% of the world population. The WHO identified migraine as the 12th most common cause of disability in women. At least 500,000 patients suffer from refractory migraine: i.e. no sufficient control of migraine pain and associated symptoms can be achieved with acute or preventive drug treatment. Recent electrophysiological, metabolic imaging and biochemical research suggests that migraine is not only a pain-related dysfunction of a brainstem network comprising antinoception, trigeminal nociceptive processing and vasomotor control, but that the interictal migraine brain has deficits in habituation in sensory and cognitive processing and an impaired energy metabolism. This is further supported by the triggerability of acute attacks with nitric oxide donors as inhibitors of the respiratory chain and the detection of raised levels of endogenous NO metabolites in the pain free interval. Thus, it is plausible that biochemical shifts precede an attack and that interference at an early stage can exert preventative effects.


We will study the use of biosensor feedback from brain energy metabolism to influence brain function and behaviour. Here migraine serves here as a well defined model disease, which can be treated by drugs improving aerobic metabolism. The long term goal of the project is the development of implantable encapsulated microsensors in migraine patients, which will enable them to monitor and control local cortical metabolic activity within a physiological range to avoid breakdown of energy homeostasis with dysfunction and possibly brain tissue damage.

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