INS 11th World Congress in Berlin
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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Medical Professionals can learn about various considerations concerning neuromodulation and clinic contacts. Once your preliminary questions have been answered, please use the Contact Us facility to find out more and to discuss specific objectives. Others may simply wish to join the INS and one of its related chapter societies, please use Membership Application.
Clinical trials that involve a wide range of emerging neuromodulation approaches are listed on our Resources and Research pages. Neuromodulator trials address symptom control through nerve stimulation in such condition categories as:
If you are not a medical professional and you are searching for information about neuromodulation and how these types of treatment could benefit a specific condition such as treatment-resistant headache or other chronic pain syndromes, you may find the sections titled Therapies, About Neuromodulation or FAQs particularly helpful.
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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