INS 11th World Congress in Berlin
Aug. 26, 2014 - Medtronic, Inc. acquired Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation for approximately $200 million in an all-cash transaction. Sapiens is developing a deep brain stimulation system with 40 individual stimulation points that may be more precise and require a shorter procedure time. Medtronic will keep Sapiens' site in Eindhoven, The Netherlands as a research and development center for its Neuromodulation business unit. Sapiens was spun out of Philips Healthcare in 2011 as a privately held enterprise. (NASDAQ)
Aug. 25, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Robert Foreman, MD, described synergies between basic and clinical pain-therapy research in a news release about the publication of neurostimulation guidelines from the Neuromodulation Appropriateness Consensus Committee. (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
Aug. 25, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Shivanand P. Lad, MD, PhD and colleagues retrospectively reviewed 1,757 patients who underwent deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease between 2000 and 2009, and in a multivariate analysis, found patients older than 75 years showed a similar 90-day complication risk compared with younger counterparts. (JAMA Neurology)
Aug. 24, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Kathryn Holloway, MD responded to questions from the public at a seminar in Richmond, VA about deep brain stimulation, Parkinson's disease, specific symptoms, timing of therapy, research and the presence of other conditions. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
September 2014 - In an article listed as most-read, "Neuromodulation in an Era of Rising Need and Cost: A Time for Multifaceted Consideration," a German surgery professor and expert in coloproctology notes that posterior tibial nerve stimulation offers moderate benefit as a fecal incontinence therapy and might elicit broader acceptance of more-invasive methods such as sacral neuromodulation. He questions how access may evolve, such as who should assess needs and deliver such therapies and what the expense may be. The author calls for "the guidance and support of the relevant professional societies" to approach the issue broadly beyond any particular commercial interest. (Diseases of the Colon and Rectum)
Aug. 25, 2014 - Nevro Corp. announced it has received patents in Europe and Australia related to spinal cord stimulation with its proprietary high-frequency system that delivers electrical pulses at a rate of up to 10,000 per second (10 kHz). The stimulation differs from lower-frequency spinal cord stimulation for back and leg pain by not causing tingling from paresthesia. More patents are pending the company said. (PR Newswire)
Aug. 23, 2014 - Transcranial direct current stimulation has attracted consumer interest for its potential to enhance some cognitive activities. In response, academics are calling for its use to be regulated, even for non-therapeutic use, such as by the do-it-yourself community of technology enthusiasts. One neurologist at Yale University comments that the "marketing is a couple of steps ahead of the science." (BBC)
Aug. 22, 2014 - The French Ministry of Health will fund the first wave of patients to receive the Argus II retinal prosthesis, according to the device-maker, Second Sight Medical. The company said that 36 patients will receive the devices for vision loss from retinitis pigmentosa in a contract through France's Forfait Innovation program meant to support the emergence of medical innovation. (Mass Device)
Aug. 21, 2014 - The Neuromodulation Appropriateness Consensus Committee's first comprehensive guidance on the use of neurostimulation in chronic pain is reported in the online, multi-disciplinary publication Phys.org. The coverage includes details about complications and their avoidance, as reported in the peer-reviewed findings of the committee in the Aug. 2014 issue of Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface. (Phys.org)
Aug. 19, 2014 - Medtronic Inc. reported first-quarter 2015 earnings with Neuromodulation and Surgical Technologies businesses offsetting declines in its Spine business, with the Restorative Therapies Group overall showing an increase of 3% on a constant currency and reported basis. The group's overall sales for the quarter were $1.603 billion. Neuromodulation revenue was up 11% on a constant currency basis or 12% as reported, totaling $479 million for the quarter. The drivers included pain stimulation, deep brain stimulation and gastroenterology/urology. The company's overall revenue was $4.273 billion, up 4% from the same quarter a year ago on a constant currency adjusted basis, or 5% as reported. (MarketWatch)
Aug. 18, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society Director-at-Large Ali Rezai, MD, was quoted in a story about the first implant of the Autonomic Technologies, Inc. neurostimulator that is undergoing a clinical trial in the U.S. in cluster headache patients. The device stimulates the sphenopalatine ganglion beneath the cheek in the upper jaw when a patient uses a hand-held controller to elicit stimulation when a cluster headache starts. Dr. Rezai said the main advantage of neurostimulation is that "it's reversible and adjustable, and you're just modulating and blocking the pain signals." (Medical Xpress)
Aug. 20, 2014 - Researchers at the University of Leeds have published in Brain Stimulation that transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation may have benefits for heart health through reducing sympathetic nerve activity. They studied externally applied stimulation to the auricular branch of the vagus nerve (distributed to the skin of the ear) in 48 healthy subjects, resulting in increased heart rate variability. They postulate that indication of increased parasympathetic activity may suggest a potential intervention for conditions such as heart failure. (University of Leeds)
Aug. 19, 2014 - Occipital nerve stimulation effectively relieves medication-resistant chronic migraine for more than one year, providing good or excellent headache relief, although a high rate of adverse events remains a concern, according to a research highlight about a randomized controlled trial with 157 subjects. (Nature Reviews Neurology)
Aug. 17, 2014 - A concert violinist received deep brain stimulation in 2009 for essential tremor at the Mayo Clinic in an operation that included his playing a violin during the procedure with a bow equipped with an accelerometer to check the effectiveness of target stimulation. He returned to play with the Minnesota Orchestra within weeks. (CNET)
Aug. 18, 2014 - Saying it is fully funded until 2016, electroCore reports increasing interest in its non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy over the last six months from Medical device companies and pharmaceutical and technology companies as well. The New Jersey-based privately held company has appointed the investment banking firm Piper Jaffray to assist in partnering discussions with pharmaceutical companies regarding commercialization of the technology. (Market Watch)
Aug. 18, 2014 - The American Academy of Neurology has updated its evidence-based guideline concerning vagus nerve stimulation for the treatment of epilepsy, saying it "may be considered progressively effective in patients over multiple years of exposure," and improvement in mood may be an additional benefit in adults with epilepsy, while overall, it may be considered an adjunctive treatment for children with partial or generalized epilepsy. (Clinical Neurology News)
Aug. 18, 2014 - In November the FDA will hold a workshop on brain-computer interfaces to discuss scientific, clinical and regulatory considerations of neuroprostheses under development to aid movement of paralyzed patients or amputees. That discussion could influence draft guidance. (The Gray Sheet)
Aug. 18, 2014 - A Stanford University research team has shown that stimulating the motor cortex in mice using optogenetics allowed the animals to improve their recovery from stroke, even five days afterwards. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors hope to identify which brain circuits might be most amenable to post-stroke intervention in a potential future human clinical trial. (BBC News)
Aug. 16, 2014 - Canadian-based Ergoresearch Ltd. announced a $590,000 royalty payment to its medical device subsidiary Victhom Laboratory Inc. represents "a strong validation" of a neurostimulation approach to obstructive sleep apnea completed by its partner Otto Bock Healthcare. The technology records and stimulations peripheral nerves, delivering therapy only when necessary. Further royalties may be forthcoming if the device is commercialized. (Sleep Review)
Aug. 15, 2014 - An article about deep brain stimulation for dystonia says it has been a gold standard for relieving symptoms for some patients since becoming available about a decade ago. (WWSB)
Aug. 14, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society President Simon Thomson, MD, was interviewed for a news feature about work of the Neuromodulation Appropriateness Consensus Committee that resulted in the first comprehensive peer-reviewed guidance for neurostimulation therapy, which appears in this month's issue of Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface. The article cites the effectiveness and cost efficiency of the therapy, pointing out that the co-authors are addressing "current gaps related to this treatment modality". (Medscape)
Aug. 14, 2014 - A woman who was participating in a clinical device trial has lost the patient controller that allowed her to switch between stimulation parameters for her spinal cord stimulator implant, when the remote control was stolen along with other electronics during a residential burglary. News reports said her controller was only one of three in her country. She said she has endured massive spasms of pain since the burglary two weeks ago, missing sleep and cutting back hours at work. (New Zealand Herald)
Aug. 13, 2014 - Second Sight Medical plans a $32 million public offering, on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol EYES, while it considers trying to expand the market the its Argus II visual prosthetic beyond the relatively few sufferers of retinitis pigmentosa to the wider group of people who have age-related macular degeneration. Meanwhile, it is at work on a next-generation device, the Orion I, that its leadership believes could address nearly all forms of blindness, and that could be developed two to three years after the stock offering. (Mass Device)
Aug. 12, 2014 - The Neuromodulation Appropriateness Consensus Committee, comprised of 60 experts convened by the International Neuromodulation Society (INS), publishes the first comprehensive guidance on the use of neurostimulation for chronic pain and ischemic disease in the August 2014 issue of the official journal of the INS, Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface. (Newswise)
Aug. 11, 2014 - Retina Implant AG announced the German health system will cover its implant to partially restore vision in late-stage retinitis pigmentosa, Alpha IMS. The microchip-based device is implanted behind the retina, to stimulate healthy nerve cells there. The device received CE mark approval in 2013 and this is its first reimbursement coverage announcement. (Mass Device)
Aug. 11, 2014 - Uroplasty, Inc. announced a positive coverage decision for its device that delivers posterior tibial nerve stimulation to treat symptoms of overactive bladder. The decision from National Government Services, a Medicare administrative contractor, applies to approximately 10 million Medicare beneficiaries in the states of New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The company said it will increase its marketing to those areas. (Wall Street Journal)
Aug. 11, 2014 - Three patients who have deep brain stimulation implants and another who has a spinal cord stimulator are among the 25 runners who have medical technology implants and will compete as a team sponsored by Medtronic, Inc. in the Twin Cities, MN in October. Running as "Medtronic Global Heroes" the international team will compete in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon or TC 10 Mile on Oct. 5, 2014. (3BL Media)
Aug. 11, 2014 - The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will be offering deep brain stimulation to certain patients who have obsessive compulsive disorder through an FDA Humanitarian Device Exemption, which generally enables patients to seek insurance coverage for the procedure. (Post-Gazette.com)
Aug. 7, 2014 - The Boston public radio station features reporting about research into decision-making and brain stimulation. An application of the research may be to help veterans with traumatic brain injuries who have difficulty weighing cost-benefit decisions, according to one researcher interviewed who is studying stimulation to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. (WBUR)
Aug. 8, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Steven Teich, MD was interviewed about a new pediatric sacral neuromodulation implant service offered by the Surgical Neuromodulation Program at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The interview concerned the case of a 16-year-old Northern California girl who had had to use a permanent tube in her abdomen to flush her digestive system with a saline solution in an often-painful and time-consuming process. The news coverage says the device "addresses communication problems between the brain and the nerves that control bowel and bladder function." For an average patient, it may take 6-12 months to have the colon begin functioning more normally. (WFMZ-TV)
Aug. 7, 2014 - St. Jude Medical, Inc. announced it has completed its acquisition of privately held NeuroTherm, Inc., a manufacturer of interventional pain management therapies. The acquisition for approximately $200 million was announced initially in July. (Fierce Medical Devices)
Aug. 7, 2014 - An article about the newly emerging field of electroceuticals mentions a recently approved neurostimulation device for obstructive sleep apnea (as well as other neuomodulation products under development) and predicts, "Within a decade or two, electrical implants could treat a wide range of common conditions." (Newsweek)
Aug. 6, 2014 - NeuroPace, Inc. received approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for a New Technology Add-on Payment (NTAP) for its RNS® System, a responsive neurostimulation system that uses closed-loop feedback as an adjunctive control for some types of medically refractory epilepsy. The NTAP program is designed to support timely access to innovative technologies for Medicare beneficiaries. (Biospace)
July 30, 2014 - Microelectrode recordings may help optimize the location of deep brain stimulation for patients with Parkinson's disease, with the beta-band frequency peaks that are enhanced by the disease being recorded and weighed together to map neuroanatomical variability in patients in an off-medicine state, serving as a biomarker for the location of the subthalamic nucleus sensiorimotor neurons, according to a study of 20 patients over more than two years of follow-up. International Neuromodulation Society member Damianos Sakas, MD, PhD and co-authors validated this hypothesis by showing a statistically significant difference in maximum peaks in 9 patients who responded well to deep brain stimulation versus 11 who did not; saying that the putative biomarker could provide intra- and post-operative support in optimizing stimulation of the therapeutic target. (IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics)
July 15, 2014 - An overview of therapeutic neuromodulation describes current and emerging methods of stimulating or inhibiting neurons, and concludes that there is a trend toward multimodal neuromodulation. The authors say electrical neural stimulation "remains the gold standard" in clinical use but "the days of using just electrical stimulation on its own may be numbered." (Frontiers in Neuroengineering)
Aug. 5, 2014 - Wedge Therapeutics, a privately held medical device development company in St. Paul, Minn., acquired technology for minimally invasive brain stimulation using a sinus cavity device, a sphenoid and olfactory nerve stimulation system (SONS), in 2013. To explore its potential application in treatment for Alzheimer's disease, the company is currently seeking investment and industry partnerships. (Business Wire)
Aug. 5, 2014 - Developing future "memory chips" builds on decoding how the brain works through neuroscience, according to a news feature, and possible applications might include cognitive enhancement, such as the potential for transcranial direct current stimulation to enhance an alert "flow state." The article says the advances might also aid in addressing some neurological deficits or disorders, such as in making neural prosthetics to assist with some types of vision or hearing loss, or therapies that might help improve some medication-resistant disorders. (Business Insider)
August 2014 - International Neuormodulation Society members Damianos Sakas, MD, PhD, and Stylianos Gatzonis, MD, are among the co-authors of an article describing the impact of intrathecal baclofen (ITB) on a neuropeptide, orexin-A, that is implicated in regulation of processes that include arousal and reward. The orexin-A levels in the cerebrospinal fluid went down in nine individuals who received ITB for hypertonia, such as spasticity associated with dystonia. (Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology)
August 2, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Veerle Visser-Vandewalle, MD, PhD, contributed to a review article about deep brain stimulation (DBS) for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The article reviews 25 studies involving 99 patients and five different DBS targets, noting 200 individuals have received DBS for medically refractory OCD since 1999. The authors conclude that for treatment-refractory OCD, DBS seems relatively safe and promising although no superior target was identified, and more research is needed to personalize treatment of severely affected individuals. (BioMed Central)
July-August 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Chandan Reddy, MD, has co-authored a case report of what may be the first published report of stimulation to the great auricular nerve to treat medically refractory post-traumatic headache. (Pain Physician)
Spring 2014 - An article about non-invasive electrical stimulation for medically refractory depression or other conditions calls neuromodulation a "third domain" in addition to medicine and psychotherapy for treating difficult psychiatric conditions. (U Magazine)
July 28, 2014 - In a review of 19 studies involving repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and addiction to tobacco, alcohol, cocaine or methamphetamine, a group of psychiatric researchers conclude that the currently experimental treatment appears to show promise. (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences)
July 28, 2014 - Low field magnetic stimulation appears to have an immediate effect on mood in study subjects with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, according to double-blinded research published in Biological Psychiatry involving 63 volunteers. The stimulation was administered with a portable, tabletop device designed by the study author. (Harvard Gazette)
June 2014 - Adding a transcranial magnetic stimulation device to a psychiatric practice calls for skills not introduced during initial medical education, as well as ongoing device support and industry interaction, balancing business considerations with impartial assessment of clinical need, say guest columnists in an editorial in an issue of Psychiatric Annals focused on therapeutic neuromodulation. (Psychiatric Annals)
August 2014 - A single-surgeon experience tracking complications and efficacy of spinal cord stimulation at the cervical level for chronic pain or the cervicomedullary junction for facial pain in 100 patients indicates that the interventions are safe and efficacious and may provide more pain relief in the upper limbs than axially, and in the head or face than in the occipital region. (Neurosurgery)
July 28, 2014 - Mainstay Medical International plc has received regulatory permission to expand the clinical trial of its implantable neurostimulation device, ReActiv8, to include sites in the United Kingdom. The study is investigating the potential treatment for adults with debilitating chronic low back pain who have few other options. (Wall Street Journal)
July 28, 2014 - Soft, thin, stretchable leads that can be more affordably manufactured are under development by the Milan- and Berlin-based start-up WISE Srl (Wiringless Implantable Stretchable Electronics), which, in preparation for seeking CE mark approval, is looking for new partnerships with neurosurgeons focused on spinal cord stimulation and neurophysiologists focused on cortical grids recording. (Daily Buzz)
July 24, 2014 - A multiple sclerosis patient who was referred to deep brain stimulation for her tremor plans to appeal the decision by her insurance company to not cover costs of the procedure on the basis of not being medically necessary. (WUSA-9)
July 23, 2014 - A 3-year-old boy born deaf who became the first of 10 pediatric patients in a clinical trial of auditory brainstem implant therapy is now responding to sounds, two months after his surgery. (The Globe and Mail)
July 22, 2014 - The maker of the first, and only, FDA-approved closed-loop responsive neurostimulation system, NeuroPace, Inc., announced its partnership with research teams at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Los Angeles that are working with epilepsy patients on the Restoring Active Memory Projects of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. (Digital Journal)
July 22, 2014 - The National Institutes of Health is supporting an open-label trial of external trigeminal nerve stimulation (eTNS) in children aged 8 to 18 as adjunctive therapy for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a challenging form of childhood epilepsy. The study at the Olive View-University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center in Sylmar, CA will involve nightly stimulation using an eTNS device from NeuroSigma, Inc. (Digital Journal)
July 18, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member John Donoghue, PhD, a neuroscientist at Brown University who works on brain-computer interfaces, will direct the new Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuro-Engineering in Geneva. Funded with more than $100 million from a foundation started by Hansjörg Wyss, the center will have more than a dozen labs for research such as neuroengineering and regenerative engineering. (Science)
July 22, 2014 - In a profile of a Parkinson's disease patient who received deep brain stimulation 13 years after his diagnosis, his neurosurgeon said that relatively few Parkinson's disease patients in the United Kingdom are offered deep brain stimulation due to lack of awareness among sufferers and throughout the medical profession. Also, a representative of the charity Parkinson's UK said disagreements about who should pay may have an impact in some areas. (Express.co.uk)
July 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society (INS) member Claudio Pollo, MD and colleagues report intraoperative testing of directional deep brain stimulation compared to omnidirectional stimulation in 13 patients with either Parkinson's disease or essential tremor; the first testing of directional stimulation suggested by computed models in humans. They report the therapeutic window was wider in the best direction of stimulation, while the therapeutic current threshold was lower, and call for chronic implantation to further confirm the findings. INS member Alexander Green, FRCS(SN) and Prof. Tipu Aziz published a commentary about this steering technology. (Brain)
July 17, 2014 - Researchers at MIT are developing a light-sensitive protein in optogenetics research that, in mice, has been shown to suppress neuronal activity non-invasively, with exposure to a light source outside the brain, to a depth of up to 3 millimeters. (AANS Neurosurgeon)
July 16, 2014 - The U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is funding a a three-and-a-half-year, $12.7 million program, "Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-Solving," SHARP, through a Boston-based contractor, Charles River Analytics. The University of New Mexico (UNM) and Georgia Tech are partnering to use brain-building games in combination with meditation or mindfulness training and transcranial direct current stimulation to improve memory and problem-solving. Over the months of the training in the study, progress is tracked using fMRI. A researcher at the UNM Psychology Clinical Neuroscience Center said that as the approach is developed, it might become a less-expensive alternative to pharmaceuticals to address mental conditions and try to restore more effective brain function. (Medical Xpress)
July 16, 2014 - A story about a Saskatoon woman who received deep brain stimulation to manage her dystonia symptoms quotes her doctor, International Neuromodulation Society member Ivar Mendez, MD, PhD, who was recruited from Nova Scotia to serve as head neurosurgeon in the region. (Leader-Post)
July 14, 2014 - "We need to support and fund every rational strategy that could make headway in our understanding of the brain," says U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in a column responding to an open letter by scientists critiquing the European Union's effort to simulate the brain, the Human Brain Project. (Huffington Post)
July 14, 2014 - Advanced Bionics said its waterproof cochlear implant, which allows users to go swimming, the Neptune, has been approved for use in China. (Mass Device)
July 14, 2014 - A woman who raised $18,000 for Parkinson's disease research by running a marathon after her sister's diagnosis was nominated for a Pride of Australia medal. Her sister received a deep brain stimulation impact after rigidity and tremors forced her to stop her work as a television producer. (news.com.au)
July 14, 2014 - Adding to its chronic pain management portfolio, St. Jude Medical, Inc. agreed to acquire radiofrequency device-maker NeuroTherm, Inc. for approximately $200 million. St. Jude Medical described the acquisition as strengthening its position in chronic pain therapies, by becoming the only medical device manufacturer to offer radio frequency ablation products as well as spinal cord stimulation systems. The transaction is being structured so that it is expected to be complete before the fourth quarter, with some $10 - 15 million in revenue from NeuroTherm adding to St. Jude Medical's 2014 sales. (Seeking Alpha)
July 9, 2014 - As part of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency initiative on "Restoring Active Memory" scientists and physicians at the University of Pennsylvania will be seeking biomarkers of memory by mapping brain activity of neurosurgical patients with epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease who participate in carrying out memory games as part of the study. In the four-year, $22.5 million project, patients will be recruited at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and six other centers: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Emory University Hospital, the University of Washington Medical Center, the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. (Penn News)
July 8, 2014 - Calling it a "stunning innovation" that is just beginning, a regional television segment features work on recording-and-stimulating brain targets in Parkinson's disease patients, which is being carried out in neuroscience research at Stanford University. The device is referred to as a "brain radio" since it can transmit information about neural activity as well as receive stimulating pulses. (KTVU)
July 9, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Ashwini Sharan, MD, was quoted in a story about brain recording in epilepsy patients to try to identify seizure origin -- evaluations that can simultaneously provide information about neural circuitry and memory. (New York Times)
July 8, 2014 - NeuroSigma, Inc. recapped a number of presentations made last week at the 11th European Congress on Epileptology in Stockholm, Sweden about external trigeminal nerve stimulation, which the company plans to evaluate for drug-resistant epilepsy in a pivotal clinical trial. (PR Newswire)
July 7, 2014 - Mainstay Medical has submitted a Pre-Investigational Device Exemption Information package to the FDA concerning the company's neurostimulation device for low back pain, ReActiv8. The submission can allow requesting feedback on a proposed study design or statistical analysis plan for an Investigational Device Exemption prior to a clinical trial to establish device safety and efficacy. (Becker's Spine Review)
July 7, 2014 - The FDA has downgraded external headache treatment devices from a Class III to a Class II medical device, no longer requiring premarket approval, but instead a shorter (510)k review pathway. (Mass Device)
July 4, 2014 - Small-intestine transit patterns remained steady in patients with diarrhea-predominant or mixed irritable bowel syndrome after four weeks of sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) during a small crossover trial at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark. The researchers note that SNS helps limit frequency, urge, and time on the toilet and reason those benefits may come from moderating colorectal sensory perception. (Healio)
July 2014 - A Toronto-based center is starting a clinical trial of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in treatment-resistant anorexia nervosa. The pilot study targets the insula, which plays a role in perception, mood, anxiety and feeding. (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
July 2, 2014 - Researchers at the University of Washington found that stimulating the claustrum when probing the brain of an epileptic woman for the origin of her seizures led to a temporary, reversible loss of consciousness. At the same time her frontal and parietal brain regions increased synchrony of electrical activity. While the results may not be fully generalizable since she had previously had part of her hypothalamus removed, the researchers believe lower-frequency stimulation of this area may help arrest an epileptic seizure or potentially help with recovery from minimally conscious state. (New Scientist)
July 3, 2014 - The NIH is expected to announce a $248-million, 6-year electroceuticals project, tentatively called Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC), to map nerves and electrical activity of five yet-to-be-decided organ systems -- a task compared to monitoring passing cars to predict which freeway exits they will take -- and then develop disease-treating, recording-and-stimulation electrode interfaces for them. (Nature News & Comment)
July 1, 2014 - A funding initiative started last April by electroCore, a New Jersey-based electroceutical company, has been oversubscribed by $10 million, bringing the total investment to $50 million upon agreement of all the parties, including Merck's Global Healthcare Innovation Fund. The company's non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation device is currently in four randomized studies focused on cluster and migraine headache. The gammaCore device is CE marked in Europe for primary headache, bronchoconstriction epilepsy, gastric motility disorders, depression and anxiety. (MarketWatch)
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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