INS 11th World Congress in Berlin
Sept. 18, 2014 - In an interview in the Irish Independent, Mainstay Medical CEO Peter Crosby, a member of the International Neuromodulation Society, said their strategy is to build a successful global company out of the Dublin-based business whose ReActiv8 muscle-stimulating device targets low back pain. The article said that at this phase, the company is not planning to be acquired or merged as smaller companies might. (Fierce Medical Devices)
Sept. 18, 2014 - EBS Technologies, which offers a non-invasive brain stimulation for restoring partial vision to an impaired eye, issued a news release about a study by the company's co-founder, published in Neurology, that he said "confirms that repetitive transorbital alternating current stimulation (rtACS), otherwise known as electrical brain stimulation, can reactivate residual capabilities of brain function." The study said vision loss is not only caused by primary tissue damage, but also by a breakdown of synchronization in brain networks. The stimulation aims to bring about resynchronization of alpha band coherence. (Business Wire)
Sept. 17, 2014 - ElectroCore announced that presentations this weekend at the European Headache and Migraine Trust International Congress in Copenhagen will include data from its PREVA study, a randomized, multi-center trial across several European countries, which showed that preventative use of non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation can reduce the frequency of cluster headache attacks by 43.4% versus the current standard of care, which resulted in only a 12% reduction. (EIN News)
Sept. 15, 2014 - Researchers who theorized an improvement in oxygenated blood supply would facilitate enhanced delivery of the scheduled therapy in patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas report that in seven patients in a preliminary study, spinal cord stimulation during reirradiation and chemotherapy was associated with clinical improvement and longer survival than previously reported in this condition. (Integrative Cancer Therapies)
Sept. 15, 2014 - The INS is pleased to announce its best abstract competition, in which the top five abstracts for the June 2015 12th World Congress in Montreal will be recognized for their quality, originality and ingenuity in basic or clinical science. For an abstract to qualify, its primary author must be a current member of the INS who has registered for the main congress. Recipients will receive their awards during the INS General Assembly of Members on the 9th of June. In addition, the primary author recipients will be refunded their congress registration fees. To access the abstract submission system please visit http://ins-congress.abstractcentral.com/. Download the instructions for authors here. The abstract deadline is 12 January 2015. (International Neuromodulation Society)
Sept. 15, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society Secretary Marc Russo, MD, and INS member Nick Christelis, MD, write in a publication geared to general practitioners in Australia a perspective on the role of neuromodulation in pain management. Indications for spinal cord stimulation, they say, include spinal cord stimulation include failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, peripheral neuropathic pain, chronic peripheral ischaemic pain and refractory angina pectoris. (Pain Management Today)
Sept. 15, 2014 - A research team reports in Urology Journal that a three-month study comparing sacral neuromodulation with antimuscarinic medication to medication alone showed greater benefit from the combined therapy in 240 women with idiopathic overactive bladder. (medwire News)
Sept. 10, 2014 - A U.S.-based research team proposes a Phase I clinical trial of deep brain stimulation to the basolateral amygdala to address post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, based in part on results in a rat model of the condition. The pilot randomized controlled trial will have a blinded, staggered onset of stimulation. (Trials)
Sept. 11, 2014 - A former violinist with the Lithuania national philharmonic orchestra received a deep brain stimulation implant to treat her essential tremor in Tel Aviv. She played the instrument during surgery to help pinpoint the correct stimulation, and said it was a shame she didn't know about the surgery previously, having had to stop performing years ago. (Jerusalem Post)
Sept. 9, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Brian Snyder, MD is participating at his Long Island practice in the multicenter SENSE™ (Subcutaneous and Epidural Neuromodulation System Evaluation) clinical trial of that compares spinal cord stimulation alone, and in combination with peripheral nerve field stimulation, for the treatment of chronic low back and leg pain due to failed back surgery syndrome. (EIN Presswire)
Sept. 4, 2014 - The Neuropathy Association released an info graphic for Pain Awareness Month that explains the impact of cancer-related neuropathy, which affects more than on-third of the 14 million cancer survivors in the U.S. (The Neuropathy Association)
Sept. 8, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society President Simon Thomson, MBBS, FRCA, FIPP, describes his passion for ensuring access to appropriate neurostimulation treatments in a newspaper profile highlighting his work. He started an NHS pain service more than 20 years ago after being introduced to neurostimulation in the 1980s in Australia. “People with chronic pain are more at risk of depression and social isolation," the article quotes him as saying. “Often, they can feel they are passed from pillar to post, with very little answer to what is actually causing their agony.” (Echo)
September, 2014 - The 2014 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award goes to Alim-Louis Benabid, MD, PhD and Mahlon DeLong, MD, whose research helped to elucidate neural circuits involved in movement disorder and demonstrate brain targets for treating motor disorder through deep brain stimulation, which has been provided to more than 100,000 patients worldwide. (Lasker Foundation)
Sept. 5, 2014 - St. Louis, MO-based Endostim Inc. has filed for an initial public offering in an offer valued at up to $40.25 million. The company plans to trade on NASDAQ under the symbol STIM. Endostim previously received approval in Europe, Asia and South America of its LES Stimulation System for the treatment of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). The company plans a U.S. clinical trial. (247wallst.com)
Sept. 5, 2014 - Neurostimulation can alter both neurochemicals and aberrant neuronal activity and is likely to become more common in psychiatric treatment, according to a question-and-answer column with a psychiatrist who favors its use the treatment paradigm. He said activity of the brain is as much electrical as it is chemical, and neurostimulation poses the advantage of being somatic and non-systemic. (Psychiatric Times)
Sept. 4, 2014 - A Florida psychiatrist who added transcranial magnetic stimulation to his practice describes how it exerts an effect by polarizing areas of the limbic system. His first patient says in an interview that the therapy leaves her feeling clearer and more revitalized, in combination with counseling. She said it had been a last resort since she could not relieve the depression she felt since childhood with medications. (USA Today)
Sept. 4, 2014 - Researchers in Germany have published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences work that shows for the first time, in cats, high-resolution imaging of the fleeting effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation in the cortex. The time-sensitive images were captured by using voltage-sensitive dyes anchored in cell membranes. The dyes fluoresce when neurons are activated or inhibited. (Medical Xpress)
Sept. 3, 2014 - In an interview publicized during Pain Awareness Month, International Neuromodulation Society President Simon Thomson, MBBS, FRCA, FIPP, describes the importance of listening to patients and his efforts to continually challenge the concept that chronic pain will always have a physical cause to be repaired through surgery. (Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals)
Sept. 3, 2014 - The first medical center in Los Angeles to offer the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation system as a neurostimulation option for obstructive sleep apnea is Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC). The device received FDA approval in April. (USC News)
Sept. 3, 2014 - A materials science professor at MIT and her research team members are pursuing creation of flexible polymer probes that have been demonstrated to optically stimulate the spinal cords of mice whose neurons were altered to respond to light, as well as magnetic materials that might be injected into the brain to serve as a transducer for neural stimulation. The work is inspired by recent findings indicating that diseases that were previously not considered to have a neurological basis, such as diabetes, hypertension and infertility, may be treated with neuromodulation by employing bioelectronic medicine. (Phys.org)
Sept. 3, 2014 - By encoding letters of words into a binary code represented by a series of motor images, scientists have transmitted two simple four-letter words recorded with non-invasive brain-monitoring -- an electroencephalogram -- in one subject and received through non-invasive brain stimulation -- robot-assisted, image-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) -- in three other subjects. Recipients sat with eyes and ears covered and received TMS stimulation to their visual cortex. The transmissions were perceived as bright lights in their peripheral vision, with the location of the light indicating its binary code (1 or 0). The data were transmitted from the sender's system to the receiving study subjects over a distance of 5,000 miles via the Internet. (CNET)
Sept. 2, 2014 - A 9-year-old boy has made progress since his deep brain stimulation one year ago for generalized dystonia. He can now independently feed himself, drink from a cup, and stand unaided. (CBS-Denver)
Sept. 2, 2014 - A man in the UK who has had up to 60 epileptic seizures per day between ages 7 months and 40 years became one of the first people in the country to add, as an adjunct to his anti-seizure medication, use of the AspireSR implant, which delivers vagus nerve stimulation to deter a seizure upon sensing a change in heart rate. Since he has seizures even while asleep, the automated sensing and response is helpful to him. (Express)
Sept. 1, 2014 - The Cyberonics, Inc. ANTHEM-HF (Autonomic Neural Regulation Therapy to Enhance Myocardial Function in Heart Failure) open-label trial of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), conducted at multiple centers in 60 patients who had moderate to severe heart failure and impaired heart function, indicate the treatment is safe, improves the heart's ability to pump blood, and reduces symptoms associated with chronic heart failure, according to data presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting that was concurrently published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure. Stimulation of either the right or left vagus nerve appeared to help patients achieve changes in cardiac function. While the right vagus nerve had been believed to provide more of a baroreceptor impact, the left vagus nerve may be easier to access, and surgeons are used to working on that side for implanting other cardiac devices. Presenters said the left ventricular ejection fraction increased from 32.4% to 37.2% after six months of vagus nerve stimulation system treatment. (MedPage Today)
Sept. 1, 2014 - Boston Scientific reported at the European Society of Cardiology meeting that the primary efficacy endpoint was not reached in its vagus nerve stimulation clinical trial carried out in 96 New York Heart Association Class II-III patients who had heart failure and an ejection fraction of less than 35%, the NECTAR-HF (NEural Cardiac TherApy foR Heart Failure) trial. After six months of treatment, blinded echocardiography showed no reduction in left ventricular end systolic diameter. Control patients begin to receive active therapy after six months of randomization, with all patients followed through 18 months to assess the safety endpoint. Despite no significant effect on cardiac remodelling or functional capacity, treatment did result in significantly improved symptomatic scores in quality-of-life metrics. (Medlatest)
Sept. 1, 2014 - Psychology researchers at the University of Queensland have reviewed an escalating number of studies utilizing transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to understand cortical substrates of behavior. The authors review its application in cognitive and motor training, its use to understand neuronal activity underlying perception, learning and memory (such as fluctuations in frequency and phase), and suggest how key methodological issues might be addressed. (Cell)
Aug. 29, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society members Kaare Meier, MD, PhD, Harold Nijhuis, MD, Wim Duyvendak, MD, Thomas Enggaard, MD, PhD, and colleagues report the first multi center randomized controlled trial of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) in medically refractory painful diabetic neuropathy. Sixty patients with lower-extremity pain were enrolled. After six months, patients receiving SCS plus best medical practice had average visual-analogue-scale pain intensity scores drop from 73 to 31. Patients who did not receive SCS remained at their baseline level of pain intensity, 67, during the six-month followup. (Science Direct)
Aug. 29, 2014 - Although epilepsy treatment has already embraced constant-current deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices, there has been little reporting of constant-current DBS devices in movement and neuropsychiatric disorders. The results of a consensus meeting sponsored by the Parkinson Alliance are reported by International Neuromodulation Society member Jay Shils, PhD and colleagues. They determined that since impedance varies considerably between patients and over time and encapsulation can occur, it makes sense that all new devices will likely use constant current even if, given the potential benefits, it will be unlikely that there will be many head-to-head comparator trials. Safety will not be impacted and science supports the use of constant current even if data are lacking. (Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface)
Aug. 28, 2014 - Enhancing functional connectivity and plasticity in the hippocampus of 16 healthy volunteers through five daily sessions of transcranial magnetic stimulation allowed the study subjects to improve memory-test scores by 30%, according to research at Northwestern University that appears in this week's issue of Science. (BBC News)
Aug. 28, 2014 - Eight daily sessions of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in 14 healthy volunteers led to a 14% reduction in caloric intake from a buffet and lower appetite scores, according to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has launched a clinical trial on the effects of tDCS on weight. (Newsweek)
August 2014 - Neuroscientists who conducted brain-mapping at the University College London on areas responsible for numerosity and duration judgments report in the Nov. 15, 2014 issue of NeuroImage that while transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) improved performance in one task, it impaired performance in another. They write, "application of anodal tDCS to the left-PPC and cathodal tDCS to the right-PPC . . . increased accuracy in the numerosity judgement task and impaired accuracy in the duration judgement task, while application of anodal tDCS to the right-PPC and cathodal tDCS to the left-PPC . . . increased accuracy in the duration judgement task and impaired accuracy in the numerosity judgement task." Their findings agree with the theorem that the parietal cortex may be the primary site for common neural processing of magnitudes in the different dimensions of time, space, and quantity. However, rather than support the general consensus that neuron firing-rate is affected globally by electrical stimulation, their findings show the modulation can be selective. (Science Direct)
Aug. 27, 2014 - St. Jude Medical said the FDA cleared a warning letter regarding manufacturing at its Plano, Texas plant where the Eon and Eon Mini spinal cord stimulation devices are made. The company had recalled some of the devices in 2012 due to battery failures and overheating during discharge. (Mass Device)
Aug. 27, 2014 - "Like a tiny, intelligent pacemaker" is how a a program manager from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency describes a potential future means of managing a number of challenging medical conditions through precise modulation of the peripheral nervous system. The research program, ElectRx, would develop closed-loop systems that provide stimulus patterns that help maintain healthy organ function. (Medical Design Technology)
Aug. 26, 2014 - Los Angeles-based NeuroSigma, Inc. has registered to undergo an initial public offering. The proceeds would help to fund a pivotal trial of is external trigeminal nerve stimulation system as an adjunctive treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy, develop a second-generation system, and advance clinical studies for neuropsychiatric indications. The company also plans retire $2.4 million of debt with the proceeds. (PR Newswire)
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 - Up to 74 combat veterans will be recruited for a double-blind study of external trigeminal nerve stimulation as an adjunctive therapy in post-traumatic stress disorder at the University of California, Los Angeles. The study, funded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, will use devices provided by the emerging company NeuroSigma, Inc. (Drug Discovery & Development)
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)
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)
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)
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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