Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Parkinson disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer, affecting 0.16% of the population in the USA 1. This disease is most common in the elderly, what makes it a prominent health problem in developed countries, where the elder population is expected to importantly increase in the future. The mechanism generating the disease is the death of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc), a small brain region from the brain stem. These neurons release the neurotransmitter dopamine to the basal ganglia, a large and complex brain structure implicated in motor control and reinforcement learning. Once SNc neurons have died, the basal ganglia starts showing prominent features of malfunction, and the characteristics symptoms of Parkinson's disease began to be observed in the patient (i.e. general difficulty or inability to execute motor movements and limb tremor, among others). Modern theory of Parkinson's disease focuses on the abnormal brain activity oscillations observed in the basal ganglia, which are consistently observed in parkinsonian patients and correlate with their symptoms. This paper develops a mathematical model of the basal ganglia, which reproduces the experimentally recorded neuronal activity of this brain structure in health and disease. Studying this model numerical and analytically, we draw conclusion on how and where these oscillations are generated within the brain. If the conclusions of this mathematical model are further confirmed experimentally, we think they pave the way towards controlling such oscillations pharmacologically or through electrode stimulation in the future. © 2011 IEEE.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control

Publication Date



6492 - 6497