Winter 2017

Mark of excellence

Neurologist Jerrold Vitek is working to improve deep brain stimulation for tremors associated with Parkinson's disease.
Photography by Scott Streble

“It’s like a pacemaker for the brain.” That’s how neurologist Jerrold Vitek describes deep brain stimulation, a treatment used to control the life-altering tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Today, the University of Minnesota is part of an elite group of nine academic medical centers to be named Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research. Many of the studies that contributed to this designation were supported by philanthropy.

With $9 million in National Institutes of Health funding over five years, the U team will define changes in brain circuitry that cause Parkinson’s, use that information to improve deep brain stimulation, and develop new treatments.