A lecturer at the University of Dundee will begin research into a neurological condition, after receiving a £30,000 grant from the Dystonia Society.
Dr Tom Gilbertson, a Clinical Lecturer in Neurology at the university, will be carrying out behavioural and imaging research with dystonic patients.
Dystonia is an neurological condition which can cause uncontrollable and sometimes painful muscle spasms.
Dr Gilbertson said: “The aim of our study is to apply recent advances in understanding the role of striatal dopamine in order to generate new insights into the basic biology of the disease. We will use functional magnetic resonance imaging to see what is going on in the brains of people with dystonia and detailed computational modelling of the role of dopamine in the selection of muscles for movement - a task in which the striatum has an important role.”
There are currently around 70,000 people in the United Kingdom living with dystonia, which can cause problems with talking, eating, writing, reading and general movement. Data from Gilbertson’s research project will be used to develop new treatment approaches and help attract large grants from other funders for future research initiatives.
The University of Dundee’s project was one of 11 funding applications considered by a panel of neurologists and the Dystonia Society’s Research Committee.
Peter Meager, a Trustee of the Dystonia Society, said: “Dr Gilbertson’s project came out as the one being most likely to further the Dystonia Society’s aims of improving treatments for people with the many forms of this illness and, hopefully, leading towards an eventual cure.”