EPFL scientists are developing a completely new “brain stress test” for evaluating the mental status of patients with Parkinson’s disease, the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease worldwide. It involves awakening the “ghosts” hidden in specific networks of the brain to predict the onset of hallucinations.

“We’re developing something similar to a cardiac stress test, but instead of testing the heart, we’re testing the brain,” says EPFL neuroscientist Olaf Blanke.

EPFL scientists are providing a new way to evaluate the onset of hallucinations in patients with Parkinson’s disease with the help of a newly developed brain stress test, focusing their research on presence hallucinations. They also provide evidence of a promising biomarker for predicting the severity of the disease’s progression. The results of their three-tier study, involving 56 patients affected by the disease and recruited at several centers in Switzerland and Spain, are published in today’s edition of Science Translational Medicine (STM).

Read the EPFL News

References: Bernasconi F, Blondiaux E, Potheegadoo J, Stripeikyte G, Pagonabarraga J, Bejr-Kasem H, Bassolino M, Akselrod M, Martinez-Horta S, Sampedro F, Hara M, Horvath J, Franza M, Konik S, Bereau M, Ghika JA, Burkhard PR, Van De Ville D, Faivre N, Rognini G, Krack P, Kulisevsky J, Blanke O (2021) Robot-induced hallucinations in Parkinson’s disease depend on altered sensorimotor processing in fronto-temporal network. Sci Transl Med 13: eabc8362.

DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abc8362