What is it about?

Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by devastating insomnia, the difficulty to initialize and maintain sleep. In this paper we use a primate model of PD to show that insomnia is tightly linked to pathological neuronal oscillations in a part of the brain called basal ganglia. As these oscillations become widespread through the brain, the normal slow oscillations that characterize sleep become weaker, possibly contributing to poor sleep.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Today, brain stimulation is routinely used to help Parkinson's disease (PD) patients with severe motor symptoms, and is helpful also for insomnia. Our identification of the critical role of beta oscillation in PD insomnia would allow physicians to focus brain stimulation specifically on segments of beta oscillation, thus hopefully improving our control of insomnia in PD.


For me, this work encapsulated a lot of what's exciting in neuroscience: On the one hand, it allowed us to study the neuronal mechanisms of normal and diseased sleep, and on the other hand, the findings have immediate impact on patients coping with Parkinson's. As a last-year MD-PhD student, the combination of scientific insight and medical benefit is paramount in my view.

Aviv Mizrahi-Kliger
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Basal ganglia beta oscillations during sleep underlie Parkinsonian insomnia, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 2020, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2001560117.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page