Dr. Raquel Sánchez receives the award for best communication at the Spanish Congress of Neurosurgery (SENEC)

Dr. Raquel Sánchez, a researcher at the Neurosurgery Group of the Research Institute of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau – IIB Sant Pau, and a neurosurgeon at the same hospital, has received the Guillermo Dierssen award for her communication titled “Deep Brain Stimulation in Pharmacoresistant Cluster Headache: Connectivity Analysis and Predictors of Neuromodulation Response.”

The study concludes that deep brain stimulation targeted at the lateral mesencephalic pre-ruptic region can be effective in treating cluster headache, also known as cluster headache, that does not respond to conventional pharmacological treatments. Cluster headache is an extremely debilitating and rare form of headache.

The researchers studied the relationship between brain connectomics, which is the mapping of neural connections in the brain, and clinical improvement in patients with pharmacoresistant cluster headache. To do this, demographic and clinical data were collected from 14 patients, including the number of weekly attacks, pain intensity, and attack duration.

The results showed a significant reduction in the weekly headache burden in patients undergoing deep brain stimulation. The headache burden is calculated by multiplying the number of attacks by their duration and intensity. On average, a 40% reduction was observed at 3 months after surgery, a 53% reduction at 6 months, and a 61% reduction at 12 months.

The analysis of the data allowed for the identification of the lateral mesencephalic pre-ruptic region as responsible for the clinical improvement observed in patients. Additionally, a positive correlation was found between mesocorticolimbic projection fibers and rubral projection fibers, which are involved in reward/motivation circuits and pain processing, respectively.

These findings suggest that modulation of the brain circuits associated with reward, motivation, and pain processing may be crucial in the treatment of cluster headache. The lateral mesencephalic pre-ruptic region is identified as a potentially effective therapeutic target for this condition.

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