video series launched by the SC conference steering committee in 2013
aims to illustrate how high performance computing is impacting everyday
life – from manufacturing to storm prediction to the making of Hollywood
blockbusters. The latest in the series is a short video highlighting
the innovative work being done at the University of Utah’s Scientific
Computing and Imaging Institute in regards to helping Parkinson’s
patients lead more normal lives through deep brain stimulation (DBS). The Institute helps doctors pinpoint brain stimulation sites
that relieve tremors in Parkinson’s patients and drastically improve
quality of life.
Although it may sound like something straight from a scene in a science fiction film, new surgery techniques that place a set of wires under the skull to transmit electrical signals to different areas of the brain has gotten even more effective with the help of computers. It’s called deep brain stimulation, or DBS. And if the idea of it seems a bit wince-inducing or scary, then understanding the power of what it can do – quiet the tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders – will likely wash away any patient’s fears and it is being enhanced via high performance computing and visualization.
|Computational models of DBS are created by combining medical imaging,
bioelectric field models and populations of multicompartmental neuron
models. Butson & McIntyre, Brain Stim, 2008.
“We know DBS does not change the progression of Parkinson’s disease, but it does improve people’s quality of life after they have it,” says Paul House, MD, a neurosurgeon and the surgical director of University of Utah Health Care’s Movement Disorders Program who himself has done more than 400 of the surgeries at University of Utah Health Care (UUHC). According to Dr. House, they get a lot more years of improved quality of life. Nationally, UUHC ranks in the top 15 for number of annual DBS procedures with some of the best patient outcomes.
Another key component in Dr. Butson’s work: data. UUHC has an extensive high performance computing infrastructure that is the raw material for much of his work. Much of those rich details were not – but now will be – mined for contributions to new discovery and innovation.
“Where the field is going is toward circuit-based therapy… and we hope that 3D modeling will allow us to see this in a totally different way,” Dr. Butson says. “So integrating the best information we can get from all different types of imaging and incorporating that into predictive models… this is the bleeding edge of DBS research.”
More About SC15:
SC15, sponsored by the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and the IEEE Computer Society, offers a complete technical program, programs for students and educators in HPC, and an exhibition that together showcase the many ways high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in scientific discovery, research, education and commerce. This premier international conference includes a globally attended technical program, workshops, tutorials, a world class exhibit area, demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning.
More About the University of Utah Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute: