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Alexander Weiss


NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholar

Biography

I am a D.Phil student at the University of Oxford studying biomedical science under a full National Institutes of Health Doctoral Fellowship. 

I am researching oscillatory activity in the beta frequency range of basal ganglia field potentials. The basal ganglia play an essential role in the control of movement in mammals, and this control is exerted on both voluntary and non-voluntary movements. Deep brain stimulation has been developed as a possible treatment for movement disorders such as Dystonia and Parkinson's disease and also functions as a palliative for conditions like intractable pain and depression. A coincident benefit of such deep brain stimulation is that the electrodes can be utilized to examine the electrophysiology of the working, living brain.

I am interested particularly in beta oscillations in the basal ganglia as recorded from deep brain stimulation electrodes. Beta oscillations appear to correlate very closely with Parkinson's disease motor symptoms such as akinesia and bradykinesia, and are involved in many other movement disorders. Parkinson's disease is poorly understood, thus an improved definition of Parkinson's disease related changes in the architecture of functional networks is essential for a better understanding of the pathophysiology of the disorder and may lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

I use recordings from deep brain stimulation electrodes, electroencephalography, and electromyography during movement testing and cognitive testing to better understand beta oscillatory activity in the healthy and impaired brain.

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