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Effects of static magnetic fields on the brain: study of the mechanisms

20th national competition for scientific and technical research

Aging and neurodegenerative diseases

Senior Researcher : Vanesa Soto León

Research Centre or Institution : Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos

Abstract

Our central hypothesis is that the mechanism that can explain the effects that tSMS produces in the nervous system may be due to the force/pressure that this stimulation creates on the nerve structures that are under this magnetic field.

The main objective of this project is to describe the mechanism that causes static magnetic fields to modify neural activity. In order to achieve this goal, we are working on: 

- The estimation of the orders of magnitude of the fields to be used for transcranial stimulation, the field gradient across the cortex and the susceptibility fluctuations. As well as the forces and pressures originating from the field gradient and spatial susceptibility variations.

- The estimation of the minimum time necessary for tSMS to produce a measurable effect in humans.

- The experimental approach, using the patch-clamp technique for in vitro recording of neurons, to confirm that the effects produced by tSMS are alterations in the biophysics of neuronal channels (theoretical model proposed in the work of Hernando et al., 2020), or, failing that, to demonstrate a different cellular mechanism. 

 This study could bring great value to tSMS since knowledge of the mechanisms of this technique could help to prescribe this stimulation as a treatment for neurodegenerative and aging diseases. Patients could benefit from the advantages of this non-invasive stimulation technique compared to others already in use, such as TMS and tdcs, since this new technique is cheap, easy to apply and can be performed at the patient's home.

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