Congratulations to Drs. Mary Katherine Ray and Tamara Hershey on their new Healthcare Innovation Lab Big Ideas Grant testing the impact of glucose variability on dynamic cognitive function in youth with type 1 diabetes (7/1/20 – 6/30/21)

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is one of the most common childhood diseases, and the number of youth with the disease is rising rapidly. With T1D, the cells that make insulin, die. Since insulin is needed to use glucose for fuel, and thus, is essential for life, youth with T1D have to take insulin shots which often leads to low and high glucose. Severe glucose events (e.g., really low glucose that requires help from others) and chronic high glucose, have been shown to be related to worse cognition in youth with T1D. However, no studies have tested how minute-to-minute changes in glucose, that are common in T1D, impact dynamic cognitive functions (i.e., cognition that can change throughout the day). Youth use these dynamic cognitive skills very often in school settings where they spend ~25% of their lives. Our goal is to use new health technology (i.e., continuous glucose monitoring that tests glucose every 5 min) and machine learning methods to understand how real-time glucose changes affect cognition in daily life. To do this, we first need to optimize a tool for testing dynamic cognition in youth and develop statistical analysis plans to combine glucose and cognitive data. The Big Ideas grant will allow the team to complete these first steps on their way to determining how glucose variability impacts cognitive function in the daily lives of youth with T1D.

Congratulations to Drs. Hershey and Culver on their new 5-year NIH grant

Cortical Network Modulation by Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation  (10/1/19 – 6/30/24)

Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN DBS) can provide motor benefit yet occasional mood and cognitive side effects in Parkinson disease (PD). It is thought that downstream network level effects are a critical mechanism of STN DBS’s influence on motor and non-motor behavior, however our ability to test this hypothesis has been limited due to safety concerns about magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in people with DBS. We have developed a safe and novel high-density diffuse optical tomography (HD-DOT) system for measuring brain networks in cortex. With HD-DOT, we will test hypotheses about networks that are responsive to important characteristics of STN DBS (e.g. location) and their relationship to motor and non-motor function. This information could help with guiding the selection of DBS parameters for clinical treatment, identify cortical areas involved in the benefits or side effects of DBS, and reveal fundamental properties of cortical network plasticity.

Meet the adorable and loving pets of the Hershey lab

Hershey Lab Puzzle Mania

Puzzles are an important part of the Hershey Lab because they improve memory, expand problem-solving skills, lower stress levels, increase IQ, delay the onset of dementia, improve mood, and well, they’re just fun!