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The People Behind the PhDs 05: Jay Sanguinetti -Rude awakening, first grades back, brain stimulation 1-3

The People Behind the PhDs 05: Jay Sanguinetti -Rude awakening, first grades back, brain stimulation 1-3

Dr. Jay Sanguinetti studies consciousness, brain stimulation, and meditation at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where he works as a Research Assistant Professor. He is also the Assistant Director to the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona.

In this episode, I talk with Jay about his journey into discovering that he wanted to study consciousness and and noninvasive brain stimulation. His research also includes:

Listen to the episode in 3 parts

Part 1 m4a mp3Part 2 m4a mp3Part 3 m4a mp3

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Dr. Jay Sanguinetti Bio

Jay Sanguinetti is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico. His team investigates novel forms of brain stimulation, including ultrasound and light-based stimulation, with the goal of enhancing memory, perception, and well-being.  Over the past year, has worked with Shinzen Young to combine brain stimulation and mindfulness to accelerate the positive benefits of mindfulness. Jay was trained in neuroscience and philosophy and is the Assistant Director to the Center for Consciousness Studies in Tucson, Arizona.

Jay currently works with Shinzen Young, a famous meditation teacher, to combine focused ultrasound brain stimulation with meditation.

Dr. Jay Sanguinetti
Dr. Jay Sanguinetti


Dr. Jay Sanuinetti with Shinzen Young
Dr. Jay Sanuinetti is putting a focused ultrasound transducer on Shinzen Young‘s head.


Music by Kate SC

Increased Excitability Induced in the Primary Motor Cortex by Transcranial Ultrasound Stimulation

Benjamin C. Gibson1Joseph L. Sanguinetti1,2Bashar W. Badran1,2,3,4Alfred B. Yu2, Evan P. Klein1Christopher C. Abbott5, Jeffrey T. Hansberger6 and Vincent P. Clark1,7,8*

Background: Transcranial Ultrasound Stimulation (tUS) is an emerging technique that uses ultrasonic waves to noninvasively modulate brain activity. As with other forms of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS), tUS may be useful for altering cortical excitability and neuroplasticity for a variety of research and clinical applications. The effects of tUS on cortical excitability are still unclear, and further complications arise from the wide parameter space offered by various types of devices, transducer arrangements, and stimulation protocols. Diagnostic ultrasound imaging devices are safe, commonly available systems that may be useful for tUS. However, the feasibility of modifying brain activity with diagnostic tUS is currently unknown.

Objective: We aimed to examine the effects of a commercial diagnostic tUS device using an imaging protocol on cortical excitability. We hypothesized that imaging tUS applied to motor cortex could induce changes in cortical excitability as measured using a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) motor evoked potential (MEP) paradigm.

Methods: Forty-three subjects were assigned to receive either verum (n = 21) or sham (n = 22) diagnostic tUS in a single-blind design. Baseline motor cortex excitability was measured using MEPs elicited by TMS. Diagnostic tUS was subsequently administered to the same cortical area for 2 min, immediately followed by repeated post-stimulation MEPs recorded up to 16 min post-stimulation.

Results: Verum tUS increased excitability in the motor cortex (from baseline) by 33.7% immediately following tUS (p = 0.009), and 32.4% (p = 0.047) 6 min later, with excitability no longer significantly different from baseline by 11 min post-stimulation. By contrast, subjects receiving sham tUS showed no significant changes in MEP amplitude.

Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that tUS delivered via a commercially available diagnostic imaging ultrasound system transiently increases excitability in the motor cortex as measured by MEPs. Diagnostic tUS devices are currently used for internal imaging in many health care settings, and the present results suggest that these same devices may also offer a promising tool for noninvasively modulating activity in the central nervous system. Further studies exploring the use of diagnostic imaging devices for neuromodulation are warranted.

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The mission of Dr. Z Podcasts is to find, record, and share stories about humans engaged in one of the 6As* of life.

*6As = athletics, adventure, academics, art, advocacy, human algorithm. The 6As is the name of the book I am writing and the foundation for Dr. Z Podcasts.

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Thanks for visiting my site. My name is Zachary Brooks, the “Z” behind “Dr. Z.” Enjoy the content and please send me questions and comments. *I earned a doctorate in Second Language Acquisition with concentrations in cognitive science and management from the University of Arizona.

Dr. Z Zachary S Brooks
Dr. Z Zachary S Brooks

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