May 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society members Cecile De Vos, MSc, PhD and Tim Vancamp, PT, MBA, are among authors of a retrospective analysis of 102 patients at two centers in Benelux who received a trial of burst-mode spinal cord stimulation after having been receiving tonic stimulation for chronic pain. The article concludes that burst mode can further improve pain suppression in patients who respond to tonic stimulation and provide pain relief to a proportion of patients who no longer respond to tonic stimulation. (Clinical Journal of Pain)
April 22, 2015 - Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania plan to test a software tool to predict optimal locations for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy, they announced at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting. They are mapping white matter connections within the brain by applying network control theory to imaging data in order to improve TMS effectiveness. (Medical Xpress)
April 22, 2015 - Medtronic announced that European regulators have approved the use of full-body MRI scans in patients who have one of their Activa deep brain stimulation systems. (Mass Device)
April 21, 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society members Koichi Hosomi, MD, PhD and Youichi Saitoh, MD, PhD are among co-authors of a review that suggests characterizing central post-stroke pain as a disorder of brain network reorganization could allow progress in mechanism-based therapies, such as brain stimulation using either motor cortex stimulation, deep brain stimulation, or transcranial magnetic stimulation. (Nature Reviews Neurology)
April 21, 2015 - Boston-based Tal Medical has raised $14 million in Series B financing, led by PureTech Ventures, to further develop its low-field magnetic stimulation system for use in depression and bipolar disorder. (Med City News)
April 20, 2015 - St. Jude Medical, Inc. announced that, for $175 million and sales-based milestone payments, it will exercise its option to acquire Spinal Modulation, Inc., which has submitted a PMA application for marketing approval of its Axium™ system for stimulation of the dorsal root ganglion to manage intractable chronic pain. The system has received a CE Mark and is subject to a U.S. clinical trial, ACCURATE. The company said in its acquisition announcement that results from the clinical trial will be presented at the International Neuromodulation Society's 12th World Congress in June in Montreal. St. Jude Medical made an initial $40 million equity investment in Spinal Modulation in 2013. (Business Wire)
April 2015 - Three types of neuromodulation are now offered at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Kenya -- spinal cord stimulation (SCS), sacral nerve stimulation and intrathecal drug delivery. An article says 43 patients have received neurostimulation systems, and that SCS is offer to both cancer and non-cancer patients when other methods do not relieve chronic pain. (allAfrica.com)
April 20, 2015 - A study in healthy subjects of distributed but functionally connected regions of the motor cortex indicates that stimulation of the brain network rather than particular, isolated regions, may be more effective in modulating motor excitability over time, according to a presentation at the American Academy of Neurology Annual meeting. (Neurology Advisor)
April 19, 2015 - Monash Health in Melbourne is will investigate whether transcranial magnetic stimulation helps relieve severe depression in up to 40 teen-agers. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
March 2015 - In a prospective multicenter trial, 57 patients with central sleep apnea underwent transvenous unilateral phrenic nerve stimulation. There was a 55% reduction in the apnea-hyponea index at three months, with efficacy maintained at six months. Scores for the patients who had heart failure also improved. Overall, favorable effects on quality of life and sleepiness were noted, although 26% of patients had device- or procedure-related adverse events in the first six months, primarily due to lead repositioning early on. (Journal of the American College of Cardiology)
April 13, 2015 - Researchers in the U.K. report that bilateral globus pallidus internus stimulation for severe, medically refractory Tourette syndrome showed a "significant improvement in tic severity, with an overall acceptable safety profile" in a double-blind, randomized crossover trial of 15 patients who were at least 20 years old. The patients received three months each of active or sham stimulation in random order in the crossover trial, and were offered and continued to have open-label stimulation afterward for one month or more. The authors conclude that future research should help identify the most effective brain stimulation target to control both tics and associated comorbidities, as well as delineate factors that predict individual patient response. (The Lancet)
April 16, 2015 - Researchers who recently published their work in Nature Neuroscience showing a de-coupling of brain oscillations involving the motor cortex during deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's disease patients had supposed stimulation would decrease the strength of beta waves (3 - 30 Hz), but instead found that there was less synchrony between those oscillations and the amplitude of broadband activity in the brain (50 - 200 Hz), an article in medwireNews explains. In coverage in the New York Times, the role of beta oscillations is described as facilitating coordination among different parts of the brain, with intentional movement involving a temporary decrease in synchronization of neurons in the motor cortex. The authors said phase-amplitude coupling might be a biomarker of parkinsonism that could be used as a control signal for a closed-loop neurostimulation system. (New York Times)
April 15, 2015 - Recording local field potentials in the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson's disease patients indicates two distinct subgroups of patients with respect to resting tremor, and also suggests a new approach to demand-driven stimulation, by using artificial neural networks to detect signals associated with tremor and apply stimulation at that time, according to a recent paper in Biomedical Processing and Control. (Medical Xpress)
April 14, 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society members Kristl Vonck, MD, PhD and Paul Boon, MD, PhD review closed-loop neurostimulation for epilepsy, asking, "Will neurostimulation close the treatment gap for patients with refractory epilepsy?" (Nature Neurology)
April 14, 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society member Paul McConaghy, MD commented on the impact of chronic pain in a person's life in an article that calls spinal cord stimulation "a revolutionary . . . treatment which is transforming the lives of people who have suffered years of debilitating pain." (Portadown Times)
April 14, 2015 - Cyberonics and Sorin Group announced approval from U.S. anti-trust regulators of their all-stock merger, which is expected to close by the end of the 3rd quarter. (Mass Device)
April 14, 2015 - Helius Medical Technologies received approval from the FDA to proceed with enrollment of a pilot clinical trial to evaluate its Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS) in the treatment of patients with balance problems due to traumatic brain injury. The company plans to conduct the PoNS trial at medical centers in Portland, Ore., Orlando and Montreal. (Mass Device)
May 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society member Kaare Meier, MD, PhD, and colleagues have published a randomized, blinded, crossover study whose results support existing evidence that spinal cord stimulation SCS does not change sensory characteristics. The study examined 14 long-term users of SCS. Their thresholds for thermal or mechanical stimuli were the same whether they were on or off stimulation. (Clinical Journal of Pain)
April 14, 2015 - The Canadian chapter of the International Neuromodulation Society has announced a free public event, prior to the 12th World Congress in Montreal, for specialists and patients to present neuromodulation therapies -- spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain, sacral neuromodulation, and deep brain stimulation. The event in French and English takes place at the same hotel as the INS congress, the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, on Saturday, June 6, 2015 from 12 - 4:30 p.m. (International Neuromodulation Society)
April 14, 2015 - Researchers at the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) at the University of Washington are starting to recruit essential tremor patients for a study of closed-loop deep brain stimulation (DBS), in order to provide DBS only when needed. This should allow longer battery life, and, the researchers say, they may be able to incorporate the choice for patients to switch stimulation parameters, for instance, to temporarily facilitate speech at the expense of tremor. Medtronic is an industry member of CSNE, and the research will use Medtronic’s Activa PC+S DBS device with the Nexus-D control system. (University of Washington)
April 13, 2015 - Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco have published research in Nature Neuroscience showing deep brain stimulation (DBS) halts excessive synchrony in the motor circuit of Parkinson's disease patients. The authors placed an array of six recording electrodes on the motor cortex during a DBS implantation procedure, and asked 12 of the 23 patients in the study to perform a reaching task of pointing to a dot. Recordings were taken in the motor area before, during, and after DBS, both when the patient was resting and when carrying out the task. (Medical Express)
April 9, 2015 - A Dallas-area nonprofit, Parkinson Voice Project, trains speech pathologists to work with Parkinson's patients and provides out-patient speech therapy with the aid of charitable donations. One of the clients, who came to the agency after having deep brain stimulation surgery, says his articulation is better now that he has practiced consciously concentrating on aspects of speech -- such as formulating a statement, breathing, and enunciating -- that were automatic before. (Dallas Morning News)
April 6, 2015 - A literature review by International Neuromodulation Society members Jason Pope, MD; Steven Falowski, MD; and Timothy Deer, MD, says, "High-frequency and burst stimulation . . . may offer new salvage strategies to mitigate spinal cord stimulation failure and improve cost–effectiveness by reducing explant rate." (Informa)
April 9, 2015 - Investigators at Princess Margaret Hospital are using transcranial direct current stimulation to investigate and treat childhood refractory and benign focal epilepsy. (Perth Now)
April 9, 2015 - An article describes the issue of spinal-cord injury patients who received adaptive technology implants that then went off the market. (MIT Technology Review)
April 7, 2015 - SPR Therapeutics received a $1.45 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop an implantable peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) system to treat post-amputation pain. The Small Business Innovation Research phase II grant follows a $2.8 million grant from the Department of Defense for ongoing safety and efficacy trials of the company's PNS therapy for post-amputation pain. The NIH grant will fund development of the company's second-generation implantable pulse generator that should be small enough to comfortably place in the residual limb of an amputee. (Crain's Cleveland Business)
April 3, 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society member Brian Kopell, MD was quoted in an article about a patient who received deep brain stimulation several years after his early-onset Parkinson's disease. His 57-year-old neurosurgery patient's symptoms improved to the point that he will be competing in the Mont Tremblant Half Ironman in Quebec in June. The patient learned about the treatment option from his wife, and Kopell said that patients who are encouraged to try additional medications and not told about the alternative miss the chance for better quality of life during "precious years of their lives". (New York Daily News)
April 3, 2015 - A Cochrane review of five studies, including two rated as high quality, found that "vagus nerve stimulation is effective, when used with one or more antiepileptic drugs, to reduce the number of seizures for people whose epilepsy does not respond to drugs alone." (Cochrane)
April 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society member Timothy Deer, MD, presented three spinal cord stimulation (SCS) approaches under development that could help patients who do not respond to conventional SCS or find associated paresthesias uncomfortable. In his presentation at the North American Neuromodulation Society 2014 annual meeting in December, he discussed high-frequency stimulation, dorsal root ganglion stimulation, and burst waveform stimulation. These emerging modalities are commercially available now in Europe and Australia. (Pain Medicine News)
April 3, 2015 - Stimwave Technologies Incorporated announced it has appointed Gabor Racz, MD, as chair of its medical advisory board. The privately held company is developing wirelessly powered, injectable, microtechnology neurostimulators. Widely acknowledged for his leadership in pain medicine, Dr. Racz is emeritus chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Texas Tech University Health Science Center, and belongs to the International Neuromodulation Society. Other INS members on the Stimwave board are David Kloth, MD, and Ralph Rashbaum, MD. (Business Wire)
April 3, 2015 - A comprehensive clinical review of neuropathic pain covers pathophysiology, diagnosis, management, and NICE guidelines. It discusses the role of spinal cord stimulation in managing such indications as failed back surgery syndrome and complex regional pain syndrome, and anticipated future developments in neurostimulation. (GPonline)
April 2, 2015 - Researchers at the University of Tokyo brought a sense of direction to blind rats through providing input from a geomagnetic compass. The input stimulated the animals' visual cortex via a prosthetic interface. The interface did not restore vision but permitted the animals to develop an awareness of their orientation in space, so that they learned to navigate mazes to find a food reward as well as their sighted counterparts. (Phys.org)
March 26, 2015 - A team of scientists modified bioelectronic sense-and-act systems to create electrodes capable of sensing and substance-releasing functions. A sensing electrode was activated by substances that ranged from small biomolecules to proteins and bacterial cells. Activation generated current and a reductive potential, which, on the second connected electrode, dissolved a matrix cross-linked by positively charged iron moieties (Fe3+). This action released a variety of compounds -- drug-like chemical species, antibacterial agents, and enzymes that activated a biofuel cell. The researchers propose applications for implanted devices that might operate autonomously. (The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters)
March 30, 2015 - The New Jersey-based company electroCore, which announced that it was one of six finalists in a broad technology category of nominees that received recognition recently at the annual FT ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business awards in London. The company was nominated for its development of gammaCore, a non-invasive, hand-held vagus nerve stimulation device to treat and prevent severe, primary headache -- cluster headache and migraine. "We believe that stimulating the nervous system to alter the biochemistry of the brain is the future of medicine for many indications, and will, because of its safety, tolerability, cost effectiveness, and ease of use, soon represent the norm for resolving many medical conditions," said Chief Operating Officer Frank Amato. (electroCore)
March 31, 2015 - A television segment shows a science correspondent using a flight simulator before, and after, receiving transcranial direct current stimulation intended to help consolidate motor-memory training. (PBS News Hour)
March 20, 2015 - Privately held Meagan Medical, Inc., a research arm of RS Medical based in Vancouver, WA announced issuance of a U.S. patent for delivering high frequency stimulation to the spinal cord with the ability to direct a higher beat output toward the spinal column. The patent includes claims for delivering stimulation with base frequencies between 500 Hz to 20 kHz while generating a directionally controllable beat frequency between 0-250 Hz. (Megan Medical, Inc.)
April 6, 2015 - A staff writer explores using transcranial direct current stimulation and the state of the approach in university research labs and do-it-yourself endeavors. (The New Yorker)
March 30, 2015 - A paper by International Neuromodulation Society member Andre Machado, MD, PhD and co-authors about computer modeling of the effects of kilohertz frequency spinal cord stimulation predicted effects under various stimulation-target conditions. The results suggest that the mechanisms of reducing perception of chronic pain with this intervention may not occur through direct activation or conduction block of the dorsal column or dorsal root fibers. (Anesthesiology)
March 30, 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society members Vivek Mehta, MD and Ganesan Baranidhavan, MD, are quoted in a story in the U.K. about a woman with chronic back pain who found relief through the use of burst-technology spinal cord stimulation. (Daily Mail)
March 2015 - Citing a "rapidly growing bank of data about devices for neuromodulation," an article about the Eighth Annual Winter Conference of the Headache Cooperative of the Pacific says this intervention may soon change the way neurologists manage patients with headache, by potentially starting first with the least invasive devices before trying medications or progressively more invasive methods. (Neurology Reviews)
March 2015 - A paper in Cell reports that increasing seritoninergic neuromodulation in the anterior cingulate cortex of laboratory animals restored normal integration of synaptic inputs following the development of neuropathic pain, such as from sciatic nerve injury. In the forebrain, in response to mechanical pain, enhanced excitation and neuronal firing was seen in the dendrites of layer 5 pyramidal neurons, specifically in the hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-regulated channels, and that hypersensitivity was alleviated by activating serotonin receptors. (Cell)
March 15, 2015 - An article by International Neuromodulation Society member Jens Kuhn, MD, and colleagues in the Netherlands describes the difficulty in recruiting and retaining clinical trial subjects who have cocaine or heroin addiction for studies of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in addiction, compared to the dedication observed in patients who pursue DBS for obsessive compulsive disorder. Differences in social support and other factors are discussed. (Addiction)
March 27, 2015 - A Belgium-based business pursuing neuromodulation applications, Nyxoah, was featured in a blog by the Health Cluster of Wallonia. The 20-person, clinical-stage company has R&D facilities in Israel and is developing an implant to treat obstructive sleep apnea that is wirelessly powered by an adhesive patch and activation chip worn at night. (Win Health)
March 26, 2015 - Bioness, Inc. said four patients have successfully received tibial nerve stimulation implants in a Canadian pilot study of the company's StimRouter Neuromodulation System in refractory overactive bladder. The system uses an implanted lead and external pulse transmitter. (Business Wire)
March 25, 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society members Jamie Henderson, MD, and Hong Yu, MD, are among authors of a study that examined intraoperative effects of 60 Hz stimulation during implantation of deep brain stimulation (DBS) leads in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) of Parkinson's disease patients. The authors observed an effect on baseline neural synchronicity. The low-frequency stimulation reinforced or inhibited synchronicity of patient-specific cortico-basal ganglia-thalamic-cortical loop(s) that contribute to the baseline resting state neural synchrony in the STN. It is for this reason, they propose, that effects of 60 Hz DBS may vary from high frequency DBS in different patients on managing such symptoms as either freezing of gait and speech on one hand or tremor on the other. (PLOS One)
March 25, 2015 - Researchers at the University of Minnesota propose a new concept for noninvasively targeting deeper brain structures through activation of various pathways, such as auditory, visual, somatosensory, motor, cognitive and limbic. They activated auditory and somatosensory pathways in guinea pigs and observed differential, timing dependent plasticity in neural firing within the auditory system, both in the deep brain and cortical areas. Their proposed approach would be called Multimodal Synchronization Therapy (mSync). They say incorporating multiple types of pathways using different, precisely timed, activation patterns may enable treatment of various brain disorders. (Scientific Reports)
March 25, 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society member B. Todd Sitzman, MD, MPH reported results of a randomized controlled clinical trial of 171 chronic pain patients that compared high frequency spinal cord stimulation (SCS) to conventional SCS at the American Academy of Pain Medicine Annual Meeting in March. He said the high frequency device in the study, recently developed by Nevro Corp., was statistically superior in meeting study endpoints through up to 12 months of followup. (National Pain Report)
March 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society member Sanjay Sanstry, MD and colleagues report on a case of successfully implanting a spinal cord stimulator in a chronic pain patient despite an abnormally curved spine due to scoliosis. They report that patience and knowledge of spinal anatomy were essential in placing the stimulator appropriately for pain relief. (Anesthesiology News)
March 25, 2015 - Researchers in Australia report a preliminary study of 13 patients who have a rare condition that causes a persistent perception of motion for weeks, months or years after leaving a moving boat, car or airplane, mal de debarquement syndrome. Although the cause is unknown, neuroplasticity may be a contributing factor. The research team say that compared to sham, four weeks of twice-daily sessions of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex led to improved balance and confidence in daily activities in this group of patients. (Journal of Neuropsychology)
March 25, 2015 - In Mumbai, a retiree with Parkinson's disease and an adolescent with dystonia both received rechargeable deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems to treat their condition. The boy received four stimulation programs that his parents can choose between since he lives too far to return frequently for programming checkups, which commonly are done in Western countries for dystonia patients who receive DBS. Their systems' batteries are expected to last about 25 years, so the patients do not anticipate needing repeat surgery every few years to replace their implantable pulse generator. (Daily News & Analysis)
March 25, 2015 - Spun nanotubes combine into strong, soft, conductive fibers about one-fourth the diameter of a human hair, which may be suitable for biomedical devices when the strands are insulated with a polymer coating. Materials science and preclinical biomedical researchers at Rice University are collaborating on demonstrating the proof-of-concept for using such components in lieu of typical brain-stimulation leads. Their bidirectional neurostimulation work in a rat model of Parkinson's disease was published online in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano. (Controlled Environments)
March 25, 2015 - Co-authors from Stanford University review the potential of targeting the hypothalamus or reward circuitry of the brain through deep brain stimulation (DBS) for obesity, in light of recent clinical trials of DBS for chronic cluster headache, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. (Cureus)
March 25, 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society member Christian Hauptmann, PhD and co-authors report in BioMed Research International on a multicenter clinical trial of 12 months of non-invasive neurostimulation in 189 patients in Germany who have chronic tonal tinnitus. The patients received acoustic coordinated reset neuromodulation, which delivers tones centered around the characteristic frequency of the patient's tinnnittus percept. This is designed to reduce neural synchrony within the primary auditory cortices. According to a news release from a clinic in the UK that offers this treatment, the treatment reduced symptoms such as severity, loudness and annoyance by nearly 40%. (PR Newswire)
March 24, 2015 - An article reports on two streams of research that aim to introduce nanoparticles to neuronal tissue and expose it to light, heating the metallic nanoparticles and making the heat-sensitive neurons fire nervous impulses as a result. The article says the work might eventually allow "wireless and minimally invasive" deep brain stimulation of the human brain. Initially, one group plans to apply the technique to treat loss of light-sensitive cells in the retina. (The Guardian)
March 24, 2015 - A recent synopsis of a previously published study of sacral neuromodulation (SNM) in overactive bladder concludes that SNM is safe and effective in patients who have mild to moderate symptoms, and shows a superior reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life compared to standard medical treatment. (Practice Update)
March 23, 2015 - The first randomized controlled trial of carotid baroreflex stimulation therapy for heart failure treatment was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Sessions in March in San Diego and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology ‒ Heart Failure. The multicenter trial of 146 patients showed safety and improved functional status from the intervention that stimulates the carotid sinus to balance activity of the autonomic nervous system. The system helps reduce sympathetic activity and enhance vagal tone, and was described in the article as "a more global form of neuromodulation" than vagal nerve stimulation that targets only the parasympathetic nervous system. (Cardiac Rhythm News)
March/April 2015 - An observational study seeking to better understand supraspinal mechanisms when long-term spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is beneficial in chronic pain examined cortical signaling in nine patients, comparing evoked potentials with SCS and after SCS is halted for 24 hours. The study showed SCS influenced both pain thresholds and cortical signalling. The data suggest regions involved with cognitive/associative processing of pain were involved. (Pain Physician)
March 23, 2015 - In long-term followup of 24 patients who received deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease, patients experienced a reduction in preexisting pain after receiving the implant. In a followup eight years later, however, three-quarters of the patients had developed new pain in the muscles and joints for unknown reasons. (HealthDay)
March 18, 2015 - A research team in Australia determined that six weeks of peripheral nerve stimulation reversed axonal dysfunction following spinal cord injury, potentially ameliorating such post-injury effects as development of neuropathic pain or muscle atrophy, thereby enhancing rehabilitation outcomes. (Journal of Neurophysiology)
March 18, 2015 - Stimwave Technologies of Miami Beach, FL announced plans to double in size by hiring 20 staff members, primarily for clinical support, over the coming year, and plans to move to Fort Lauderdale in May. The company relocated to Florida about a year ago from Arizona in order to be in a location that is central to customers in the U.S., Central America and Europe. The company has a 12-cm Freedom Stimulator for spinal cord stimulation to treat chronic pain, and plans to release a peripheral nerve stimulator later this year. (South Florida Business Journal)
March 3, 2015 - A multicenter study of 55 dystonia patients who were followed for up to 92 months provided Class IV evidence that long-term deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the internal pallidum improved the condition in patients with monogenic isolated dystonia types DYTi and DYT6, as well as patients without known monogenic cause (non-DYT). The effect of DBS in the eight DYT6 patients appeared less predictable, suggesting that generic testing and counseling for known dystonia gene mutations may be indicated. Regardless of what type of dystonia the patients had, those with a shorter duration between onset and surgery had better control postoperatively. (Neurology)
March 7, 2015 - An article in a quarterly technology supplement of The Economist describes the state of interest in transcranial direct current stimulation, particular from home hobbyists or consumer-oriented startups. The article summarizes meta-analyses of published studies that cast doubt on claims of cognitive enhancement, but also quotes experimenters who say the stimulation can enhance some functional performance under some conditions. (The Economist)
March 17, 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society member Christopher Honey, MD, was quoted about the desire to identify potential responders in advance in an article that reported on a University of British Columbia talk by neurologist Helen Mayberg about deep brain stimulation (DBS) research in depression. Dr. Honey, who is based in Vancouver, participated in an early clinical trial in this indication. The article says that in addition to Mayberg's studies, researchers are interested in the potential of DBS for obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa, Tourette syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. (Vancouver Sun)
March 16, 2015 - Materials scientists have reported a soft, wearable electrode that stays on for more than two weeks and recorded EEGs of three volunteers when attached to the scalp behind the ear. The foldable collection of gold electrodes stays on using van der Waals forces, which are also used in nature to help geckoes climb vertical walls. The development was described as a potential "persistent" brain computer interface. (IEEE Spectrum)
March 16, 2015 - Highland Instruments, Inc. announced a fast-track SBIR grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health to evaluate its ElectroSonic Stimulation (“ESStim™”) for noninvasive brain stimulation to suppress pain from osteoarthritis of the knee. The technology combines independently controlled electromagnetic and ultrasonic fields that focus and boost neurostimulation currents via tuned electromechanical coupling in neural tissue. (Business Wire)
March 12, 2015 - "You can easily see these devices getting really small and really smart," NIH neural engineering program director Kip Ludwig, PhD commented in an article about GlaxoSmithKline's interest in potentially ushering in a new wave of miniature, autonomous, bioelectronic neuromodulation treatments. GSK head of bioelectronics research and development Kristoffer Famm, PhD described the work as trying to "basically redefine neuromodulation." The article's sources said these treatments may enter clinics in a decade if hurdles such as improvements in capabilities of power sources are solved. (CNBC)
March 10, 2015 - Spinal cord stimulation "provides in part long-term pain relief in otherwise intractable chronic pain of ischemic origin with a relatively low complication rate," according to a literature review by authors from the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms University Hospital in Bonn, Germany. (The Clinical Journal of Pain)
March 2015 - International Neuromodulation Society member Jamie Henderson, MD will co-lead a webinar March 19 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research on "Treating the Brain: New Approaches to Deep Brain Stimulation and Beyond." The hour-long session is intended for primary care physicians, family practice physicians, general medicine physicians, geriatricians, general neurologists, movement disorder specialists, and other practitioners who manage patients with Parkinson's disease. (Michael J. Fox Foundation)
March 10, 2015 - Stimwave Technologies Incorporated announced the first patients have been implanted with its wireless stimulator designed to manage chronic back and leg pain. The patients were implanted in January 2015 in Tampa, Florida under the care of International Neuromodulation Society member Sunil Panchal, MD. The company said in its announcement that the device essentially allows MRI examinations to be performed on all parts of the patient, under a 3-Tesla MRI conditional rating. An evaluation of the device's MRI compatibility was published in Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface by INS member, and lead author, Frank G. Shellock, PhD. (Business Wire)
March 2015 - Researchers associated with the University of Tübingen report on bilateral deep brain stimulation of the nucleus ventralis intermedius in three patients who had fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome. The neurostimulation resulted in sustained improvement of both tremor and ataxia in a follow-up that lasted as long as four years. The authors conclude their data on patients who have a genetic cause of tremor "may contribute to improved patient stratification for neurostimulation therapy in the future." (Parkinsonism & Related Disorders)
March 7, 2015 - Three years after she became the third clinical trial subject to undergo deep brain stimulation for anorexia, a young woman is profiled in a television special. Since her surgery and intensive in-patient participation in an eating disorders program, a total of 17 other patients have now participated in the clinical trial of the intervention that her neurosurgeon cautions is thought of as a symptomatic treatment. (CTV 5)
March 6, 2015 - If deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Alzheimer's disease brings the condition to a mild state or better for a year before continuing on its natural course, that would considered a success according to a decision analysis model that compared alternative courses of treatment and quality of life. The authors conclude that a success rate of 20 - 75% would be cost-effective for DBS in this condition, and above 80%, the treatment would be both clinically more effective, and more cost-effective, than standard treatment. (Journal of Neurology)
March 5, 2015 - The Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation are supporting eight of 36 individuals living with spinal cord injury who will undergo a clinical trial expected to start this year that explores whether, in certain spine-injured patients, epidural stimulation can be used to recover a significant level of autonomic control. (PR Newswire)
April 2015 - DREADDs (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs) are synthetic molecules that modulate cellular activity by affecting signaling cascades; a recent review describes how this slower-onset modulation regulates behavior over time. A perspective article in the Feb. 24, 2015 issue of Nature Neuroscience says both "designer receptor technologies" and optogenetics, aid in development of new interventions or may form the basis of new therapeutics. These tools, the article states, "provide unprecedented and much needed specificity, allowing for spatial, temporal and cell type-selective modulation of neuronal circuits." (Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences)
March 2, 2015 - A neurosurgeon in India describes an observational study in four patients from 2010 to 2012 who had progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) in which mobility problems do not respond to medication. Bilateral stimulation of the pedunculopontine nucleus (between the lower midbrain and the brainstem) at 20-45 Hz improved gait in the patients at 6 months followup. Two patients with a subtype of the degenerative disorder lost improvements at 18 months. The author concludes the procedure can be safely performed in PSP patients despite mid-brain atrophy. (The Times of India)
To see select neuromodulation news by category, as well as news about the INS in particular, please visit the Newsroom. To see archived news briefs dating back to January 2011, visit the News Archive.
How Has Neuromodulation Been Developed and Used?
Conventional medicine has typically had four modes of treating diseases or disorders: counseling or “talk therapy”; physical therapy involving manipulation and strengthening of muscles and range of motion; pharmaceuticals that act on a chemical level; and altering or augmenting tissue through surgery, injections, or filtering methods like dialysis. The growing field of neuromodulation is a new class of therapies that involves directly treating the nervous system itself, often through small implanted devices that target a specific area, to rebalance the activity of neural circuits and manage symptoms.
Progress has been spurred by advances in our understanding of the nervous system, as well as new technologies and clinical experience, enabling treatments to modify nerve cell activity in brain, spinal cord and periphery to restore function, minimize pain, and treat disease symptoms. Developed over the last 45 years, neuromodulation has grown rapidly into a family of therapies that applies stimulation or agents directly to the nervous system, often using small implanted medical devices that are powered in a similar fashion to a cardiac pacemaker. By delivering electrical or chemical stimulation, neuromodulation has increasingly been used to treat motor disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, refractory chronic pain ranging from neuropathy to cancer related pain to severe headaches, spasticity, epilepsy, and incontinence. It is also under study for conditions ranging from gastroparesis to medically refractory depression. Providers of such therapies include neurosurgeons, pain physician specialists and rehabilitation physicians. They may often work with other specialists such as neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, gastrointestinal or colorectal specialists, urologists, primary care physicians, and physical therapists to achieve best outcomes.
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The International Neuromodulation Society (INS) is a non-profit group of clinicians, scientists and engineers dedicated to the scientific development and awareness of neuromodulation - the alteration of nerve activity through the delivery of electrical stimulation or chemical agents to targeted sites of the body. Founded in 1989 and based in San Francisco, CA, the INS educates and promotes the field through meetings, its peer-reviewed journal Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, explanatory content, and chapter websites.
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