Applying low intensity currents to the brain to reduce fatigue

simranjit sidhu

Dr Simranjit Sidhu

University of Adelaide, SA

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Incubator | 2020 | Investigator Led Research |
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Summary

Compared to healthy individuals, people with multiple sclerosis (MS) fatigue much quicker during everyday physical activities such as climbing stairs or shopping for groceries. This can be a major factor in reducing quality of life for people with MS. Dr Simranjit Sidhu’s work is focused on reducing MS-related fatigue.

Fatigue has two components: 1) within the muscle, and 2) within the brain and spinal cord or “central” fatigue. There is some evidence to show that MS fatigue is largely mediated by brain mechanisms or central fatigue.

To reduce the central effects of fatigue when applied on the brain of young individuals, non-invasive brain stimulation techniques involving low-intensity direct current (called “neuromodulation”) have been trialled. However, the results can be highly variable. This is possibly due to both individual factors such as age and sex; as well as external factors such as different experimental protocols.

One way shown to minimise this variability is to apply a priming dose of current first, with a short rest before the application of the “treatment current”, during fatiguing exercise. The aim of this research is to determine if applying this priming dose to the brain can modify the way neurons respond and reduce the magnitude of MS fatigue.

Neuromodulation with non-invasive brain stimulation is a potentially effective treatment for MS fatigue, but is poorly understood. This project will expand our knowledge of the exact mechanisms involved in priming neuromodulation and effects on MS fatigue with a view to developing more reliable and effective treatments.

Updated 21 October 2020

Updated: 21 January, 2020

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory
Research

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years
Translational
Research

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years

Investigator

Grant Awarded

  • Incubator Grant

Total Funding

  • $21,656

Duration

  • 2 years

Funding Partner

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dr helen correia

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Applying low intensity currents to the brain to reduce fatigue