Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics
Patients with brain disorders often have symptoms that don’t respond to medication (also called medication-refractory symptoms). Some of these symptoms can be improved by directly targeting brain circuits. Brain circuits are sets of connected brain cells that together perform a certain function such as speaking or walking. These circuits can be damaged by brain disease, leading to neurological or psychiatric symptoms. Recent advances in brain imaging allow us to identify these brain circuits and determine which brain circuit is responsible for which symptom. Neuromodulation therapies such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRIg-FUS) allow us to directly target brain circuits and improve symptoms in ways not possible with medication.
The Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics is a joint initiative across the departments of neurology, psychiatry, neurosurgery, and neuroradiology, all located within the Hale Building for Transformative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Neurosciences Center. The goal is to improve treatment for patients with brain disorders by directly targeting the brain circuits responsible for neurological and psychiatric symptoms. The center is multidisciplinary because symptoms of brain disease cross traditional boundaries as does the expertise needed to develop and administer brain circuit therapies. The center offers multiple forms of therapeutic neuromodulation because the same brain circuit can potentially be targeted in different ways. The Center combines research and clinical care to speed up the development of new treatments.
Clinical services include DBS, MRIg-FUS, and TMS. A second-opinion service is available for patients who previously received these treatments but were not satisfied with their outcome. Additional neuromodulation technologies may be available as part of research trials.
We treat patients with medication-refractory symptoms from brain disorders including depression, Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and several other diagnoses. We also offer treatment as part of research trials for a range of different brain disorders.
The Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics offers the full range of neuromodulation treatments in a unique multidisciplinary environment.
Patients are first evaluated by an expert in brain stimulation therapies matched to their specific symptom or diagnosis. This evaluation can occur in person or via a video appointment. Patients often see multiple experts across multiple departments. Appointments are organized into a single day at a single location to maximize patient convenience. For example, a patient undergoing DBS evaluation for Parkinson’s disease may see a neurosurgeon, neurologist, neuropsychologist, social worker and get an MRI, all in back-to-back appointments in the same building on the same day.
For patients who have previously received neuromodulation treatment at another institution but were not satisfied with their outcome, we offer a second opinion service. We will evaluate your diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and response to determine whether changes can be made to improve your outcome. This service includes advanced analysis of the location of your neuromodulation treatment, so please send MRI scans (on disk) and records prior to your appointment.
In the Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics, we treat both neurological and psychiatric symptoms as brain circuit problems. We use a multi-disciplinary approach and offer a variety of neuromodulation therapies to target these brain circuits for symptom relief. This unique approach fosters innovation, collaboration and new perspectives on delivering better treatments for patients with brain disorders.
Specific examples of what makes us different include:
Dr. Andreas Horn, a world authority in using brain circuit imaging to understand and improve deep brain stimulation therapy for patients with neurological diseases will join the Department of Neurology faculty. Dr. Horn received an M.D. from Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany, and a Ph.D. in medical neurosciences from Charité in Berlin. He completed post-doctoral fellowships in medical neuroimaging at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, Germany, and at the Laboratory for Brain Network Imaging and Modulation at Harvard Medical School.
He founded the Network Stimulation Laboratory at Charité – University Medicine Berlin in 2017 where he led a productive research group prior to joining BWH. He is an expert in structural imaging (MRI/CT) and noninvasive connectivity measures derived from functional and diffusion weighted MRI. He developed methods to identify the structural and functional brain networks that mediate brain stimulation effects. He has received multiple awards including the Robert Koch Prize, the Max Ruber Prize for Innovation, and an Academic Ventures Grant from the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies.
Dr. Horn’s expertise complements a growing group of faculty at the Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics at BWH. The Center was founded in 2020 to improve treatment for patients with brain disorders by directly targeting the brain circuits responsible for neurological and psychiatric symptoms. Dr. Horn will hold appointments in the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry at BWH, and in the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at MGH and will play a pivotal role in fostering collaborations in brain circuit therapeutics across the Mass General Brigham system.
Daniel completed his medical training and psychiatry residency at Yale University and will arrive in Boston by way of Seattle, where he is currently a Pain Medicine fellow at the University of Washington. He completed his graduate work at the University of Texas where he used different types of MRI to study brain diseases. He is founding Medical Director of the Interventional Pain Psychiatry Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he will research and treat a wide range of chronic pain conditions. In particular, he hopes to quantitatively define pain and psychiatric conditions. So defined, he will identify and target the neural circuits underlying those conditions with therapeutic interventions. He is a regular contributor to Scientific American, hosts Yale School of Medicine’s “Science et. al.” podcast, and recently authored “Reading Our Minds: The Rise of Big Data Psychiatry. To read more about Dr. Barron, click here.
For patients seeking a specific neuromodulation treatment, they can contact:
Deep Brain Stimulation: 617-732-7432
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: 617-732-6753
MRI Guided Focused Ultrasound: 617-732-6858
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