Abstract| Volume 16, ISSUE 1, P119, January 2023

Brain stimulation and neuroscience robotics for induction and assessment of hallucinations

      Although hallucinations are essential and frequent symptoms in major psychiatric and neurological diseases, little is known about their brain mechanisms. Moreover, hallucinations are unpredictable and private experiences, making their investigation, quantification, and assessment challenging. A significant shortcoming in hallucination research is the absence of methods able to induce specific and short-lasting hallucinations, which resemble clinical hallucinations, which can be elicited repeatedly and vary across experimental conditions. By integrating results on specific hallucinations from cortical stimulation in epilepsy patients with recent advances in cognitive neuroscience and robotics, we have designed a robotic procedure able to repeatedly induce a specific, clinically relevant hallucination in healthy individuals: presence hallucination (PH). Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), who frequently experience PH in daily life, were shown to have abnormally elevated sensitivity to the robotic PH procedure, reflecting their abnormal cortical-subcortical networks. In ongoing clinical research, we are combining neuroscience robotics with deep brain stimulation, targeting control of hallucinations and related cognitive dysfunction in PD.
      Research Category and Technology and Methods
      Basic Research: 1. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)