News Briefs from the International Neuromodulation Society

 

Emerging Therapies & Diagnostic Tools News Feed

 

Profile of a Stanford University Professor Recaps Milestones in Optogenetics and Brain Mapping

April 21, 2014 - A feature in the New York Times describes the development of optogenetics, and profiles one contributor to its development, the Stanford University Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD. The article is one of four news features about brain mapping that the newspaper has published in the past year, and it also mentions brain-mapping work that his team presented at the November 2013 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego. (New York Times)

Husband and Wife with Chronic Pain Both Benefit from Receiving Spinal Cord Stimulators
April 18, 2014 - A husband and wife in Indiana who are in their 50s both had spinal cord stimulation systems implanted for chronic back pain and can now live more active lives and continue working. Their provider said the effects of neuromodulation are among the most dramatic in his pain practice. (News-Sentinel)

Korean Charity Agrees to Help Finance Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Children with Medically Refractory Epilepsy

April 17, 2014 - A charity group in South Korea agreed to provide support so that children with drug-resistant epilepsy can receive vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) to limit their seizures. Up to 25 patients will be supported each year, with priority to families that cannot afford medical care. The commitment will be for up to 2 million won (approximately $2,000 in U.S. dollars) in medical bill coverage per patient. The agreement was formalized in a memorandum of understanding between a medical society, the Korean Child Neurology Society, and a charity group, the Supporters Society for Korea Parents of the Disabled Association. Since April 2013 the charity group has already enabled eight pediatric patients to receive VNS implants. (Korea Times)

News Feature Describes Deep Brain Stimulation to Manage Symptoms of Movement Disorder

April 15, 2014 - In a news feature for Parkinson's disease month, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine neurosurgeon Jeffrey Cozzens, MD, a member of the International Neuromodulation Society, is interviewed about how some 80-90% of patients who meet criteria to receive deep brain stimulation to control tremors notice some improvement, even though the disease itself can still progress. Having performed more than 350 of these surgeries over the years, he remarked that these patients are his happiest and thrilled to "get their lives back". (Devils Lake Journal)

Profile Features Patient Who Received Robotic-Assisted Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

April 15, 2014 - In a profile of a patient who received robotic-assisted deep brain stimulation surgery for essential tremor, a physician explains that the technology allows patients to be able to move a little and be more comfortable during the surgery, as well as shortening the time it takes to perform. (Florida Times-Union)

Article Centers on Importance of Training in Reducing Implant Risk

April 15, 2014 - A presentation submitted to an upcoming medical meeting by International Neuromodulation Society member Shivanand P. Lad, MD concerns data from 12,300 insurance claims for spinal cord stimulation implants that indicate almost one in 100 cases show some degree of spinal cord or spinal nerve-root damage, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. INS member and journal Editor-in-Chief Robert M. Levy, MD, PhD was attributed to say that uneven training across medical specialties and a perception that such implants are easy to perform is often at the root of surgical complications. Among other sources, the article also quotes INS member Gilbert Fanciullo, MD, director of pain medicine at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, about the importance for practitioners to be familiar with implantation risks. (Wall Street Journal)

Primary Head Pain Case Series Examines Combined Occipital and Supraorbital Stimulation

April 15, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Shannon Hann, MD, presented a case series at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons 82nd Annual Meeting in which 14 of 20 patients with medically refractory primary headache found pain relief of more than 50% through combined neurostimulation of occipital and supraorbital nerves over a mean followup of 34 months. Patients with facial pain developed allodynia and had to have the systems removed. She said the combined stimulation bears further investigation and on average appears that it may be more effective than occipital stimulation alone. (Medscape)

Urologists Stage Debate Regarding Overactive Bladder Treatment Options

April 14, 2014 - In a urology meeting debate concerning treatment with botulinum toxin or sacral neuromodulation for overactive bladder, sacral neuromodulation advantages mentioned included that it can enhance voiding and defecation, which may also present problems in these patients. (European Association of Urology)

Story Features Pediatric Patient Who Received Deep Brain Stimulation for Dystonia

April 8, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member John Honeycutt, MD, was interviewed about a 7-year-old girl who has always had dystonia and was able to start bicycling three months after she received a deep brain stimulation implant during a relatively new "asleep" procedure. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News)

Spinal Cord Stimulation in Four Spinal Cord Injury Patients Enables Voluntary Movement After Complete Paralysis

April 9, 2014 - Spinal cord stimulation allowed four people with paraplegia to move previously paralyzed muscles, according to a news release by the National Institutes of Health, which partially funded the study along with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The research (also covered in the Wall Street Journal and other publications) was published Tuesday in the journal Brain. "Neuromodulation of the sub-threshold motor state of excitability of the lumbosacral spinal networks was the key to recovery of intentional movement," the authors write. (Los Angeles Times)

U.S. National Radio Broadcast Features Essential Tremor

April 7, 2014 - A woman who had deep brain stimulation for essential tremor 15 years ago was featured in a radio broadcast about the condition. She said she cried when stimulation was first applied and quoted her tremors, which have returned to a small degree but do not interrupt her life anymore. (NPR)

Restrospective Study Indicates Electrode Placement Affects Outcomes of Subthalamic Nucleus Stimulation

April 4, 2014 - Twenty-seven authors of a retrospective analysis of 309 patients who received deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) for Parkinson's disease in France report in Neurology that the STN is the best target to control motor symptoms, postoperative cognitive deficit is mainly related to the surgery itself, and hypomania induced by stimulation in 19 cases appears to stem from both the disease characteristics (younger age, shorter disease duration, higher levodopa responsiveness) and a more ventral location of the electrode in the STN. (News-Medical.Net)

Vanderbilt Research Into Early-Stage Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson's Disease Enters Pivotal Clinical Trial

April 3, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society members Peter Konrad, MD, PhD, and Joseph Neimat, MD, of Vanderbilt University are part of a long-term study of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in early-stage Parkinson's disease, which has moved into a large Phase III, multi-center safety and efficacy trial. (Vanderbilt)

Former Radio Host Expresses Gratitude for Access to Deep Brain Stimulation for his Parkinson's Disease

April 2, 2014 - A former resident of the U.S. who stopped hosting a radio show after developing Parkinson's disease describes in a radio interview how he got up out of a wheelchair and strolled down a hall after his deep brain stimulation implant was activated. He said he was grateful that the government in Canada covered the cost of the therapy, voicing concern that it might have been costly for him to try to obtain in the U.S. (CBC Radio)

Pain Physician Helps Chronic Pain Patient Regain Quality of Life in Australia

March 31, 2014 - In anticipation of a public pain day on April 13, 2014 in Hobart, Australia, a patient is featured who eventually found relief after receiving a spinal cord stimulator implant for chronic pain 12 years after a rare abdominal bleeding condition, portal vein thrombosis, at the recommendation of a pain physician. She said the device lowered her pain 80% and within 24 hours wanted to stop her opioid medication. (The Examiner)

Review Details Expanding Uses of Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

May 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Teodor Goroszeniuk, MD and co-author David Pang, FRCA write in a review of peripheral neuromodulation that new technologies for more easily and safely placing electrodes percutaneously should further expand its uses; in addition to intractable headache, uses include neuropathic, visceral, cardiac, abdominal, low back and facial pain. Also under extensive investigation is its use in modulating organ function in treatment of syndromes such as epilepsy, incontinence and obesity with vagal, tibial and gastric stimulation. (Current Pain and Headache Reports)

Study Presented About Heating of Conditionally Safe Spinal Cord Stimulation Leads During MRI Full-Body Scans

April 2, 2014 - Medtronic Inc.'s principal electrical engineer, Heather Orser, PhD, presented a poster at the American Academy of Pain Medicine Annual Meeting in March regarding safety of a new full-body, conditionally MRI-safe spinal cord stimulation lead. Based on animal data and simulations of lead paths in human models -- combined with lead characterization analyses -- the results showed that the design for reduced radiofrequency-induced heating produced temperatures below 43º C for the full range of scenarios during 30 minutes of active scanning. (Healio)

Florida Hospital Uses Robot-Assisted Surgery for Implanting Deep Brain Stimulation Electrodes

March 31, 2014 - The Baptist Health medical center in Jacksonville, Florida has begun using the Mazor Robotics Renaissance Guidance System to perform bilateral deep brain stimulation. A patient who received the procedure for his essential tremor described how the implant helps control his symptoms. (First Coast News)

Researchers Watch Neuroplastic Response of Brain Networks to Cortical Stimulation

March 31, 2014 - Researchers in Japan combined repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and diffusion-weighted MRI to observe plasticity-related changes in brain regions that are affected through neural networks by the stimulation, but are not themselves stimulated. (Medical Xpress)

Girls Promote Epilepsy Awareness and Discuss Vagus Nerve Stimulation

March 28, 2014 - A student who received a vagus nerve stimulator two years ago to help control her epileptic seizures, and her younger sister, participated in an annual worldwide Purple Day campaign to raise awareness by telling of their experiences with the condition. The young woman has gone three months without a seizure and would like to be eligible for a driver's learning permit if she goes six months seizure-free. (Cowichan Valley Citizen)

Study: Disparities in Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's Disease

March 2014 - An examination of  2.4 million discharges for Parkinson's disease from 2002 - 2009, conducted through hierarchical multivariate analysis of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, showed that although 4.7% of all Parkinson's disease discharges were of African American patients, only 0.1% of the Parkinson's disease discharges among African Americans were for deep brain stimulation (DBS), indicating a disparity in access to this care. The study authors say that even though African American patients are more often discharged from urban teaching hospitals with a higher-than-average density of neurologists, the patients received disproportionately fewer DBS procedures than their non-African American counterparts. (JAMA Neurology)

Fibromyalgia Study Links Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Improved Quality of Life

March 26, 2014 - In a small, double-blind study in France, 38 fibromyalgia patients either received sham stimulation or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to the left primary motor cortex. After 14 stimulation sessions over 10 weeks, the patients were assessed for quality of life. In addition, PET scans were periodically performed throughout the treatment period. The study found that patients receiving active stimulation reported an improved quality of life and also had an increase in metabolism in the right limbic area. The study authors report in Neurology that the study provides Class II evidence for effectiveness of the intervention. (Health Day)

U.S. Patient Describes Her Heart Failure Symptom Improvement with Vagal Nerve Stimulation Device

March 24, 2014 - A woman who is controlling heart failure symptoms with investigational use of a CardioFit (TM) vagal nerve stimulation device by BioControl Medical is interviewed on Florida television. (WJXT - Jacksonville)

Motor Cortex Stimulation Shown to Improve Training in Controlling Robotic Arm through Brain Interface

March 24, 2014 - Collaborators at the University of Tubingen and National Institutes of Health report that training healthy subjects to use a brain-machine to control a robotic arm went better with electrical stimulation to the primary motor cortex than in a control group that did not receive that stimulation. As a follow-up, the procedure will next be tested in stroke patients. (Medical Xpress)

First Patients Begin to Receive New Responsive Neurostimulation System for Epilepsy

March 24, 2014 - Epilepsy specialists and patients discuss use of NeuroPace's RNS System and the advantages of responsive neurostimulation in controlling seizure activity, compared to the previously available option of continual vagus nerve stimulation. (New York Times)

 

Auditory Brainstem Implants May Slowly Become Less Rare

March 24, 2014 - More investigation in Europe in patients with congenital disease or trauma led to exciting results that spurred expanded interest in the U.S. for auditory brainstem implant which has been performed about 1,000 times worldwide in the last 30 years. Centers experienced in removing acoustic neuromas -- one main reason to seek the intervention -- may offer the technology. The capability is now offered in Northern Ohio at the University Hospital Case Medical Center and at the Cleveland Clinic. The House Clinic in Los Angeles developed and honed the procedure and performed the bulk of implantations in the U.S. (Cleveland.com)

 

Burst Spinal Cord Stimulation Technology Receives CE Mark Approval

March 20, 2014 - St. Jude Medical, Inc. announced CE Mark approval and European launch of its spinal cord stimulation (SCS) system, Prodigy™, that offers both tonic and burst stimulation for expanded therapy options. The rechargeable SCS system is subject to a U.S. clinical trial, SUNBURST™ (Success Using Neuromodulation with BURST) http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02011893. (St. Jude Medical)

Implants That Sense Neural Signals are Leading to Understanding of Brain Circuits

March 19, 2014 - Deep brain stimulation systems that can read out neural signals are contributing to studies into patterns that correlate with different symptoms of Parkinson's disease, potentially leading to creation of more tailored, responsive neurostimulation regimes. (Nature)

 

Retrospective Study Ranks Which Specialists Refer Chronic Pain Patients to Spinal Cord Stimulation the Soonest
March 18, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Krishna Kumar, MD said in an interview about a retrospective study of 532 patients who received spinal cord stimulation (SCS) that while SCS should be considered within the first 12 - 16 weeks of chronic pain (prior to changes occurring within the brain) to improve success rates, referrals varied by specialty, with neurosurgeons on average referring after 2.69 years, and orthopedic surgeons and anesthesiaiologists referring after 4.30 and 4.84 years, respectively. (Medscape)

Woman with Auditory Nerve Damage First in Northeast Ohio to Receive Auditory Brainstem Implant

March 13, 2014 - A woman who lost hearing due to benign tumors received an auditory brainstem implant (ABI) at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. In an announcement, a medical school professor was quoted as saying the effectiveness of ABI is limited. After the device is turned on in 6-8 weeks, she will undergo rehabilitation therapy to maximize the benefit of the additional sense of sound provided by the device. She was the first in Northeast Ohio to receive an ABI. Her surgeons consulted with the Los Angeles-based House Ear Clinic, which has performed the bulk of these surgeries nationally since their development in the 1970s. (Newswise)


Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Helps Man's Chronic Knee Pain

March 13, 2014 - A 42-year-old man who has suffered more than 16 years of knee pain due to accidents and osteoarthritis, considered too young to receive a joint replacement that may last only 20 years, was given a peripheral nerve stimulation implant after a successful trial. This was considered an uncommon application of the fairly common pain intervention. (Chicago Tribune)


Research Funding Announced for Study of Brain Stimulation in Stroke Rehabilitation

March 13, 2014 - The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has given a $1.5 million grant to a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Brain Plasticity Lab to compare gait training with or without brain stimulation in patients who have experienced a stroke. The neuromodulation treatment group will receive transcranial direct current stimulation in advance, and electrical stimulation in combination with motor training of the ankle. The investigator will also use MRI to see if there were any changes in cortical activity associated with the therapy. (Phys.org)

 

FDA Approves Device For Preventing Migraine Attacks

March 11, 2014 - The FDA announced it has given its first approval to a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device meant to be used prior to the onset of pain -- the Cefaly headband-like device that stimulates the trigeminal nerve above the eyes. Designed to prevent migraines by being used daily for 20 minutes, the device is available by prescription, and may help patients who cannot tolerate migraine-prevention medication. Approval was based on a clinical study of 67 individuals in Belgium who experienced fewer migraines through its use, as well as a study of 2,313 users in France and Belgium, 53% of whom said they were satisfied and willing to buy the device for continued use. Cefaly is manufactured by STX-Med in Herstal, Belgium. (FDA)


Cardiologist Describes Neurostimulator Undergoing Clinical Trial in Heart Failure

March 11, 2014 - Patients who are not making progress having given current treatment a chance would be potential candidates for heart failure treatment using an implanted neurostimulator to treat the parasympathetic nervous system, a cardiologist says in a question-and-answer section accompanying an article about the first patient in Florida to receive the CardioFit™ nerve stimulator in a U.S. clinical trial of the device, which is approved for marketing in Europe. The device from Biocontrol Medical combines a sensor in the heart and stimulator on the vagus nerve. (Ivanhoe Newswire via WWSB)


High-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation Study Publishes Data from Two-Year Follow-up

March 11, 2014 - Twenty-four months of results were published in the March 2014 issue of Pain Medicine regarding a prospective European clinical study of high-frequency spinal cord stimulation for chronic, refractory low-back and leg pain. In the study of Nevro Corp.'s Senza system, back pain was reduced from an initial 8.4 out of 10.0 to 3.3, and leg pain was reduced from 5.4 out of 10.0 to 2.3. Of 82 patients trialed, 72 went on to permanent implants and 65 were available for a two-year follow-up. In addition to reduced pain, patients reported increased function, better sleep, and decreased opioid use. Adverse events resembled those seen with traditional spinal cord stimulation. Senza is authorized for sale in Europe and Australia, supported by European data published in Pain Medicine and in Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface in 2012. In the U.S., the system is undergoing a pivotal randomized controlled clinical trial, with enrollment completed one year ago of 241 patients at 11 pain treatment centers. (PR Newswire)

Patient Recruitment Starts in Australia for Clinical Trial of Novel Back-Pain Stimulator

March 10, 2014 - Australia has cleared Mainstay Medical to begin a clinical trial of an implantable neurostimulation device for chronic low back pain, ReActiv8, which stimulates nerves that contract key muscles that stimulate the lower back. Patient recruitment has begun at three clinical trial sites in Australia. In June 2013, Mainstay presented results at the world congress of the International Neuromodulation Society regarding the company's recently concluded European Feasibility Study. (Medical Device Business Review)


Pain Registry Provides Evidence for Neuromodulation Therapy

March 7, 2014 - The Partnership for Advancement in Neuromodulation has published interim results of its pain registry in early view in Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface. The data from 579 patients at 40 study sites showed patient-reported pain relief was 58% at three months, 58% at six months, and 57% at 12 months. Slight more than 47% of patients stopped or decreased opioid use, while smoking was shown to significantly attenuate pain relief. (MDLinx)

 Retrospective Analysis Indicates Spinal Cord Stimulation Success Increases When Started Within Two Years
March 6, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Krishna Kumar, MD, presented a poster at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine showing that in 443 patients with chronic pain, those who waited less than 2 years for spinal cord stimulation had a 75% success rate, compared to 15% for patients who waited 20 years,  (American Academy of Pain Medicine)

Clinical Trial Starts That Pairs Audio Tones and Vagus Nerve Stimulation to Reduce Tinnitus Symptoms
March 6, 2014 - The National Institutes of Health is starting a study that pairs vagus nerve stimulation and exposure to audio tones to try to reduce symptoms in patients who have moderate to severe tinnitus. The vagus nerve stimulation, provided by a device manufactured by MicroTransponder, Inc., is supposed to help re-wire the brain in response to the audio stimulation that is intended to reduce the perception of ringing in the ears that occurs in tinnitus. The clinical trial at four U.S. centers involves daily 2.5-hour sessions over six weeks. (Health Day)

 

Physician Describes New Experiences with Auditory Brainstem Implants in Children
March 4, 2014 - An interview, an implanting physician describes the intricacies of new work in the United States with auditory brainstem implants for children who lack the neural structures for a cochlear implant. Three pediatric patients have been implanted so far by Craig Buchman, MD, professor of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, who directs the university's Ear and Hearing Center. (Ivanhoe Newswire via My Suncoast)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Research Indicates Greater Plasticity in Brains of Insomniacs
March 4, 2014 - A research study comparing the ease of training insomniacs on a motor task to controls suggests that insomniacs may have a more-plastic brain. The study used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the motor cortex to trigger a thumb movement. Subjects were asked to learn to counter the movement. Although it was hypothesized that insomniacs would be less-rested and do more poorly, they surprisingly did better, suggesting there is an association between this plasticity and "dysregulation of arousal" seen in insomnia. Potentially TMS might be used to treat insomnia, according to the author of the study at Johns Hopkins University. (Live Science)

Texas Medical Center Initiates Study of Emerging Deep Brain Stimulation Target in Treatment-Resistant Depression
March 4, 2014 - A clinical trial is starting at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in which five adults with treatment-resistant major depression will receive deep brain stimulation to the supero-lateral branch of the medial forebrain bundle, part of the brain's reward system between the limbic system and prefrontal cortex, an area that showed promise in a Bonn-based pilot study in seven patients in which preliminary findings were published in June 2013. (Newswise)

Concern About Medicare Distinctions Potentially Curbing Research into Deep Brain Stimulation
March 3, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Andre Machado, MD, PhD, and co-authors point out that a centralization of Medicare reimbursement policies for investigational medical devices, instituted in January 2014, offers two investigational device exemption categories, neither of which balances well reflecting potential therapeutic risks of applying these devices to emerging targets and indications while also being conducive to investment in development of these therapies. (Journal of the American Medical Association)

Deep Brain Stimulation Associated with Neural Stem Cell Proliferation in Parkinson's Disease Patients
March 3, 2014 - A comparative post-mortem tissue examination of the brains of individuals without Parkinson's disease, those with Parkinson's disease who did not receive deep brain stimulation (DBS), and 12 patients who had idiopathic Parkinson's disease and received deep brain stimulation from 0.5 - 6 years before dying of other causes showed that there was a 2-6 fold greater cell proliferation in the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles, an area of neural stem cell growth that lies close to the electrode trajectory, in the brains of the subjects who had DBS. The results suggest DBS may increase cellular plasticity, potentially in areas beyond the electrode location. The effects on Parkinson's disease symptoms and therapy are not clear. (PLoS ONE)

Effects of "Asleep" Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery Comparable Over Time to "Awake" Method for a Common Parkinson's Disease Brain Target
March 3, 2014 - Of 213 patients who received deep brain stimulation surgery targeting the subthalamic nucleus for management of Parkinson's disease symptoms while under general anesthesia, 188 were followed up after one year and 65 after five years. The resulting short-term and long-term motor effects were similar to intervention under local anesthesia, the authors state, and there were no more adverse effects. (Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry)

Researchers Describe Early-Stage Neurostimulation Research in Anorexia Nervosa
March 3, 2014 - The start of a Phase II trial of deep brain stimulation in anorexia nervosa, is described by Toronto-based researchers who have implanted 15 adults with chronic, treatment-resistant, or malignant cases of the eating disorder. Based on experience tracking response in depression to stimulation of the anterior cingulate, the team is focusing on the subcallousal cingulate of the anterior cingulate, noting that mood appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of anorexia nervosa. Another six patients have been enrolled and were awaiting surgery. (Psychiatric Times)

Biological Chemist in Munich Publishes Research Papers on Potential "Light Switches" for Sensory Processing
March 2, 2014 - A biological chemist has developed a light-sensitive compound, DENAQ, that acts on specific ion channels in response to white light, which has allowed it to restore light-sensitivity in the eyes of blind mice. The research on electrophysiological remodeling of mouse retinal ganglion cells was published Feb. 19, 2014 in Neuron; in Angewandte Chemie on Feb. 12, 2014, his research group showed that the painkiller fentanyl, when modified with an azobenzene unit, will bind opioid receptors and change shape when exposed to different frequencies of light, activating or deactivating receptor function. (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Study: Intensity, Not Area, of Spontaneous Neuropathic Pain Linked to Quality of Life

March 1, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Kaare Meir, MD, PhD and colleagues in Denmark studied 26 chronic pain patients who received spinal cord stimulation, measuring both the area of spontaneous neuropathic pain and the pain intensity. The study found a correlation in increased quality of life with decreased pain intensity, but not with decreased area of spontaneous pain. (Clinical Journal of Pain)

External Brain Stimulation Elicited Brief Increase in Awareness in Brain-Injured Patients

Feb. 26, 2014 - Using low-level transcranial direct current stimulation that makes neurons more or less likely to fire, a clinical research team was able to elicit briefly increased levels in awareness in 15 of 55 study subjects who had shown fluctuating awareness ("minimally conscious state") or an ability to be aroused but not aware (vegetative state). In the crossover trial published online in Neurology, patients received 20 minutes of active or sham stimulation to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex one day, and then crossed over to sham or active stimulation, respectively, the next. The responders included 13 brain-injury patients who were in minimally conscious state and 2 who had been classified as being in a vegetative state. (New Scientist)

Chronic Pain Advocacy Organization Re-emerges

Feb. 20, 2014 - The National Pain Foundation has re-emerged as a nonprofit organization, having transferred its assets to the American Pain Foundation in 2010, which disbanded in 2012. The National Pain Foundation announced a goal of creating a "digital footprint" of people in pain, their behaviors, treatments, and needs -- through online communities, surveys and forums. (Pain Medicine News)

Neurostimulation Technique for Chronic Migraine to be Offered at Arizona Facility

Feb. 20, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Jonathan Carlson, MD, will be offering a peripheral nerve stimulation technique for chronic migraine in the Phoenix, Arizona area, according to a news release from the Migraine Treatment Centers of America. (Digital Journal)

Presentation Recaps Advantages of Brain Stimulation During Stroke Recovery

Feb. 20, 2014 - Stroke patients who receive brain stimulation and occupational therapy recovered more than twice the arm and hand movement six months after their stroke than those who received occupational therapy alone, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2014. (Clinton Herald)

Authors Give Overview of Neuromodulation Approaches in Cocaine Addiction

March 2014 - Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), deep rTMS, and deep brain stimulation are discussed as possible interventions for cocaine dependence in an article that also suggests potential genetic markers for risk and objective treatment outcome measures. (Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment)

Researchers Look at the Role of Inflammatory Mediators in Response to Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery in Major Depression

Feb. 18, 2014 - Animal research and evaluations of patients who received deep brain stimulation for treatment resistant depression indicate that immediate symptom relief is mediated by local inflammation, suggesting that post-surgical analgesics that are not anti-inflammatory would be preferable, say researchers from the University of Cadiz, Spain. They are trying to discern the molecular effects in case the therapeutic effect can be replicated less invasively. In May 2013, the team published findings in Molecular Psychiatry, "Early responses to deep brain stimulation in depression are modulated by anti-inflammatory drugs". (Medical News Today)

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Studies Underway to Increase Alertness When Monitoring Battle Zones

Feb. 18, 2014 - The importance of quickly processing and acting upon information during military conflicts is prompting military funding of research into transcranial direct current stimulation as a potential way to enhance cognitive alertness, according to an article and accompanying graphic in the Boston Globe. The New York Daily News said the soldiers in the tests were kept awake for 30 hours and reviewed digital surveillance or footage from drones. The volunteers in the five tests at Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio reportedly performed twice as well with active stimulation. (Boston Globe)

Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Headache Reviewed

Feb. 14, 2014 - In a review, the current evidence for peripheral neurostimulation is summarized for treatment of chronic migraine, trigeminal autonomic cephalagias and occipital neuralgia, and other secondary headache disorders. (Headache - The Journal of Head and Face Pain)

Brain-Computer Interface Award Submissions Sought

February 2014 - The International Annual BCI Award submission deadline is July 1, 2014; the award -- $3,000 -- recognizes outstanding, innovative research in brain-computer interfaces and has been supported since 2010 by the Australian BCI equipment supplier g.tec. (g.tec medical engineering GmbH)

Neuromodulation Research Grant Proposals for Parkinson's Research Due Next Month

February 2014 - Up to two years of funding for neuromodulation research into Parkinson's disease to relieve motor symptoms is offered by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Pre-proposals are due March 19. Ideal proposals involve clinical research or late-stage preclinical research in non-primates. The call for proposals calls deep brain stimulation a viable therapeutic option that provides benefit at low risk in appropriate patients although noting that the varying efficacy and side effects among subjects limits its full potential. (Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research)

Insights About Biomarkers of Depression Expand Future Treatment Options

Feb. 13, 2014 - An overview of new treatments for depression in Current Psychiatry mentions neuromodulation approaches and discusses theories about differences in neuron density; feedback pathways, and the role of stress in inflammatory response and cell turnover. (Medical Xpress)

Crossover Study Shows Benefit of Sacral Neuromodulation in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients Who Respond to a Percutaneous Trial

Feb. 6, 2014 - Surgeons from the Neurogastroenterology Unit at Aarhus University in Denmark report that in a randomized, controlled crossover study of sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), IBS-specific symptoms were significantly reduced during stimulation in the 21 participants, and conclude that SNS improves quality of life for highly selected IBS patients. The study subjects had a minimum baseline IBS symptom score of 40 points, reduced at least 30% during a percutaneous nerve evaluation prior to implantation. At one-year follow-up, the median IBS symptom sore had dropped from 62 to 25. (Annals of Surgery)

Authors Present 15-Year Follow-up on Prevention of Percutaneous Lead Migration

Feb. 11, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Richard North, MD and co-authors report a retrospective series of patients in which percutaneous lead anchors were secured with a small amount of adhesive in 291 patients from 1998 to 2006. When one case of migration was observed involving a short anchor, from 2007 to 2013, in 142 consecutive patients, only a long anchor was used and a fascial incision was added to accommodate its tip, as well as stronger suture material. With a mean follow-up of 2.86 years, no migration was observed in the second set of patients; in the first series, over a mean follow-up of 4.75 years, 1.37% (4) patients experienced lead migration requiring revision. (Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface)

Health Column Examines Study of Transcranial Stimulation to Improve Math

Feb. 11, 2014 - A column in the Wall Street Journal looks at research at Oxford University into whether noninvasive transcranial electrical stimulation can help improve performance in math. (Wall Street Journal)

Researcher Presents Studies Into Depression and Neuromodulation in Ireland

Feb. 11, 2014 - Biomarkers are needed to screen for patients who would be most likely to respond to deep brain stimulation (DBS) for depression, according to Helen Mayberg, MD, who spoke to the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. Mayberg said the treatment relieves psychic suffering so patients can be re-trained to engage in life in ways they are unused to, and that their previous therapeutic interventions continue. She said about 200 people have received DBS and about 80% of those in a clinical trial based in Atlanta have a sustained response, and 63% in a clinical trial based in Toronto have a sustained response. She also discussed her collaborations on brain imaging before and after cognitive behavioral therapy, which impacts the frontal cortex primarily, while drugs primarily impact the brain stem and limbic system. (Irish Times)

Heart Failure Patient Undergoes Vagus Nerve Stimulation in Clinical Trial

Feb. 9, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Esmiralda Henderson, MD's first patient where she established a deep brain stimulation (DBS) service at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines -- Iowa's second DBS center -- was videotaped showing how much the stimulation calms his essential tremor symptoms. The news coverage included a description of the therapy. (Des Moines Register)

Video Shows Calming Effect of Deep Brain Stimulation on Essential Tremor Symptoms of a Patient of an International Neuromodulation Society Member

Feb. 9, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Esmiralda Henderson, MD's first patient where she established a deep brain stimulation (DBS) service at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines -- Iowa's second DBS center -- was videotaped showing how much the stimulation calms his essential tremor symptoms. The news coverage included a description of the therapy. (Des Moines Register)

Advantages of Early Screening and Implantation Documented for Diaphragm Pacing in Spine-Injury Patients

Feb. 7, 2014 - A retrospective study in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery of 22 spinal cord-injury patients who had received neurostimulation to aid breathing through diaphragm pacing just 40 days after injury found that 72% were able to breathe independently without a respirator after an average of 10 days. All the others had delayed or partial weaning but one who was taken off life-prolonging support after entering long-term acute care. Eight patients completely recovered the ability to breathe and the neurostimulation wires were removed. The study looked at 29 patients, seven of whom not did receive an implant because laparoscopic diaphragm mapping to electronically read diaphragm nerves showed their phrenic nerves were not intact. The Diaphragm Pacing System by Synapse Biomedical, Inc., NeuRx, has FDA humanitarian device approval for spinal cord injury patients and patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It received Health Canada approval in November 2013 for patients with ventilator-dependent spinal injury, and CE Mark approval in 2007 for diaphragm dysfunction. (Medical Express)

News Show Features Man's Success in Quieting Tourette Syndrome Tics through Deep Brain Stimulation

Feb. 5, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Brian Kopell, MD was interviewed regarding a patient whose more extreme tics caused by Tourette syndrome were quieted instantly when his deep brain stimulation system was programmed in September 2013. The patient's tics had included stumbling, punching himself in the head, and uttering profanities. A news report focused on the fact that the patient and his wife can finally go for walks while holding hands. (Good Morning America)

Meta-Analysis Shows Benefits of Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson's Disease

Feb. 2, 2014 - An analysis of randomized controlled trials comprising almost 1,200 patients up to April 2013 indicates that deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease "significantly improves patients’ symptoms, functionality and quality of life," a research team writes in The Journal of Neurology. They add that although the number of studies included (6) is small, the relatively large sample size does confirm treatment efficacy. (Journal of Neurology)

Psychiatrist Ponders Investigations Into Deep Brain Stimulation in Addiction, Other Conditions

Dec. 19, 2013 - A psychiatrist who teaches bioethics at Columbia University presents emerging clinical experience involving deep brain stimulation in addiction and other behavioral conditions. (Scientific American)

Researcher: Preclinical Optogenetics Work in Dopamine Circuits Might Influence Other Therapies

Feb. 4, 2014 - A researcher says her optogenetics work in rats might be used to understand and possibly treat other conditions by using  similar viral vectors to infuse therapeutic genes into relevant brain regions. In her research, rats sought alcohol less after low-frequency, prolonged stimulation of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area led to accumulation of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, which had been thought to play a role in regulating alcohol consumption. Conversely, inducing phasic release of dopamine with brief high-frequency stimulation did not lead to less drinking of alcohol by the rats. http://www.frontiersin.org/behavioral_neuroscience/10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00173/abstract (State University of New York at Buffalo)

Recordings Detail Coordination of Brain Centers in Planning and Executing Gait Control

Feb. 3, 2014 - A research team that took extracellular single-unit recordings  in the pedunculopontine nucleus of 10 Parkinson's disease patients during "awake" surgery for implantation of deep brain stimulators writes in Nature Neuroscience that different synchronous networks were activated during initial motor planning and actual motion, suggesting that changes in gait initiation in Parkinson's disease may result from disrupted network activity. (HealthCanal)

News Report: Futility Analysis Leads to Cessation of One Study of Deep Brain Stimulation in Treatment-Resistant Depression

December 2013 - The BROADEN (BROdmann Area 25 DEep brain Neuromodulation) Study has been closed, reportedly after a futility analysis did not support continuing St. Jude Medical's clinical investigation of the intervention in treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, following an FDA-approved expansion in 2011 of up to 20 sites and 231 patients. (Neurotech Business Report) (Neurotech Reports)

Parkinson's Disease Researchers See Promise in Preclinical Neurostimulation Studies

Jan. 30, 2014 - In a student newspaper interview, Duke university researchers say that dorsal column stimulation is less costly and invasive than deep brain stimulation and might be applied at an earlier stage in Parkinson's disease. Their study of long-term effects in a rat model of the disease required innovating electrode designs and surgical procedures to ensure a stable implant. The team plans to translate the neurostimulation findings soon to clinical research in patients who have Parkinson's disease. (Duke Chronicle)

Neurosurgeons Provide Access to Quality Services and Information for Parkinson's Disease Patients

Jan. 29, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Gary Heit, MD, PhD, is credited with helping Kaiser Permanente in Northern California to set up an advanced deep brain stimulation (DBS) service that pinpoints brain targets using diffusion tensor imaging. One recent patient at the Redwood City, Calif.-based medical center, Darcy Blake, described having DBS that helped control her tremors from Parkinson's Disease. She has helped create online information for women with Parkinson's disease that includes an entry about a recent talk on Parkinson's Disease by INS Director-at-Large Jaimie Henderson, MD given to a support group at the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center. (Palo Alto Patch)

Photos Posted of Hospital's Milestone Deep Brain Stimulation Procedure

Jan. 27, 2014 - A business newspaper printed a photo montage from Monday's 500th deep brain stimulation surgery at Allegheny General Hospital involving a patient with cervical dystonia. (Pittsburgh Business Times)

Studies Suggest Astrocytes' Role in Lingering Impact of Deep Brain Stimulation on Brain Circuits

Jan. 24, 2014 - A review summarizes how deep brain stimulation (DBS) may both inhibit neurons and activate axons, while also triggering cellular and molecular changes in other cells, especially astrocytes. Astrocytes apparently contribute to synaptic plasticity through potentiating or mediating long-term effects; in addition, DBS may increase activity in astrocytes of delta-opioid receptor to confer neuroprotection. (CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics)

Authors Advocate Having a Large Health System Explore Benefits of Deep Brain Stimulation in Conditions Such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Fall 2013 - International Neuromodulation Society member Gary Heit, MD, PhD, and co-authors report in The Permanente Journal that preliminary results are promising for deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of severe, medically refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder. The authors say DBS has been established as a safe, reversible, adjustable, efficacious and evidence-based treatment that offers a higher quality of life and efficient use of patients' financial resources. They conclude that The Permanente Medical Group (comprised of physicians of the health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente) is uniquely situated to define and develop the appropriate scope of this intervention. (The Permanente Journal)

Executive Appointed to Help Guide Commercialization Efforts for External Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation Start-Up

Jan. 27, 2014 - NeuroSigma, Inc., a Los Angeles, Calif.-based company commercializing noninvasive trigeminal nerve stimulation for neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders, has appointed a former marketing executive from Allergan, Inc., Gregory F. Brooks, to be senior vice president and chief commercial officer. NeuroSigma's first product, the Monarch eTNS System, is available by prescription in the European Union and Canada. (Market Watch)

Maker of Devices for Voiding Disorder Names New Executive to Oversee Product Development

Jan. 27, 2014 - Suranjan Roychowdhury, PhD, has been appointed vice president of Research & Development and Clinical Affairs, a new position at Uroplasty, Inc. designed to guide clinical trials for their pipeline of products to treat voiding dysfunctions. As a materials scientist who has held leadership roles at several medical devices companies, he holds 20 issued U.S. patents in cardiology, orthopedics, urology and drug delivery. (Wall Street Journal)

Closed-Loop, Cortical Stimulation Proposed for Parkinson's Disease

Jan. 18, 2014 - Closed-loop cortical stimulation may offer clinical benefit for treating advanced Parkinson's disease, according to authors who review the issue, including the potential of mathematical modeling to contribute to its development. (Clinical Neurophysiology)

Publication Cites Spinal Cord Stimulation's Neuroprotective Effects in an Animal Model of Parkinson's Disease

Jan. 23, 2014 - A study in rats indicates that repeated spinal cord stimulation may have a neuroprotective effect that could slow progression of Parkinson's disease. In the animals, six weeks of twice-weekly treatment led to such improved symptoms of depleted dopamine as better motor skills and a reversal of significant weight loss. The treated rats had better neuron survival and a higher density of dopaminergic innervation in brain regions controlled movement. (Duke University)

Medical Center Announcement of Deep Brain Stimulation Progress Mentions INS and Member Research

Jan. 23, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society (INS) member Michael Oh, MD and his presentation at the INS World Congress in Berlin in 2013 on deep brain stimulation (DBS) research in obesity were mentioned in an announcement that his research colleague Dr. Donald Whiting will be featured Jan. 27, 2014 in performing the Allegheny General Hospital's 500th DBS procedure while the case is live-tweeted on Twitter. (West Penn Allegheny Health System)

Landing Science Conferences Such As the INS 13th World Congress in 2017 is Considered a Coup for an Expanded Convention Center in Edinburgh

Jan. 22, 2014 - The International Neuromodulation Society's World Congress in 2017 is mentioned as one of three science conferences from 2015 - 2017 that are considered coups for the Edinburgh, Scotland International Conference Centre whose expansion opened in May. The state-of-the-art facilities and popular and natural draw of the city were cited by an executive for the British Neuroscience Association. In 2015 its Festival of Neuroscience will coincide with the Edinburgh International Science Festival. The International Congress and Convention Association rates the Edinburgh just behind London as a U.K. conference destination and 33rd worldwide. (Edinburgh News)

Small Piezoelectric Power Supplies are Under Development for Medical Devices

Jan. 21, 2014 - Research in large animals, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that piezoelectric nanoribbons of lead zirconate titanate implanted on the surface of the heart, lungs and diaphragm can generate up to eight volts of electricity under mechanical stress. The prototype device stores the electrical current in a small battery, and the senior author says the device was able to power a few off-the-shelf pacemakers. An industry observer commented that in five years, such an approach to harvesting mechanical energy of the body, for instance, in arm or leg muscles or organs that move, may drive biosensors and biodevices. (Popular Mechanics)

External Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation Studies in Epilepsy Presented

Jan. 21, 2014 - Positive results in adjunctive treatment for epilepsy using external trigeminal nerve stimulation were announced last month by NeuroSigma, Inc. at the annual American Epilepsy Society meeting. The presentations concerned 10 patients who had reduction in seizures of 30 - 50% or more after 12 weeks and 8 of whom chose to continue treatment beyond the initial 18 weeks; as well as a Phase II sub-analysis of 26 patients who experienced a mean seizure reduction of 34.4% compared to an increase of 6.6% in the control group. Patients in the sub-analysis group met inclusion criteria of having 4 - 60 seizures per month -- the same criteria as will be used in an upcoming, recently approved pivotal trial. (PR Newswire)

Review Summarizes Published Studies of Tibial Nerve Stimulation in Fecal Incontinence

Jan. 21, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Charles Knowles, MBBChir, PhD and co-authors reviewed 12 published clinical studies of tibial nerve stimulation to control fecal incontinence. In a randomized controlled study and case series reports, percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) resulted in a weekly reduction of at least 50% in occurrences of fecal incontinence in 63-82% of patients; transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (TTNS) resulted in similar success in 0-45% of patients. In a randomized controlled trial of PTNS vs. TTNS vs. sham, treatment success was 82% with PTNS, 45% with TTNS, and 13% in sham. (British Journal of Surgery)

Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation for Bladder Symptoms Most Effective When a Sensory Response is Present in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Jan. 20, 2014 - A study of percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation in 83 patients with multiple sclerosis and lower urinary tract symptoms indicated that despite the effects of the disease on neuronal pathways, the most frequently observed perception of bladder condition was a sensory response, with or without a motor response, and this was associated with a more successful therapy outcome than motor response alone. (Multiple Sclerosis Research)

Cardiologist Considers Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation for Sleep Apnea Potentially Helpful for Heart Health

Jan. 15, 2014 - Future studies of hypoglossal nerve stimulation for obstructive sleep apnea should evaluate cardiovascular outcomes, a cardiologist says in a column discussing the promising study published in the New England Journal of Medicine about the therapy. The author writes that obstructive sleep apnea worsens outcomes in heart disease, and treating the sleep disorder may help to prevent heart disease. (Everyday Health)

Health Economy Model Predicts Nerve Stimulation for Refractory Hypertension is Cost-Effective

Jan. 10, 2014 - Compared to optimal medical management, therapeutic electrical stimulation of the carotid baroreceptors in patients who have medication-resistant hypertension is projected to add 2.17 quality-adjusted life years (QALY), according to a health-economic modeling analysis published in the Journal of Hypertension. Its incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is 7,797 euros per QUALY gained in a European payer setting, well below the recognized threshold of 35,000 euros. CVRx Inc. announced the findings concerning its Barostim device. The second-generation Barostim neo is commercially available in Europe and the therapy is also subject to a pivotal clinical trial in the U.S. (Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology)

Neurology Researchers Develop Mobile Application to Facilitate Quicker Programming of Deep Brain Stimulation Systems

Jan. 16, 2014 - An iPad-based clinical decision support system in preliminary testing reduced the time to program deep brain stimulation systems more than 99% (less than two minutes, rather than four hours). The project at the Medical College of Wisconsin has received a $25,000 grant from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin for a prospective randomized study in Parkinson's disease patients at Froedtert Hospital. (Medical College of Wisconsin)

Study Examines Optimal Deep Brain Stimulation Approaches to Control Essential Tremor

January 2014 - By quantifying performance of seven patients with essential tremor in a reaching task, research authors determined an optimal deep brain stimulation target -- usually in the posterior subthalamic area, beneath the inferior border of the thalamic nucleus ventralis intermedius -- and pulse strength and duration to suppress tremors and limit the induction of ataxia. (Brain)

New Insight Into Opioid Receptor Function May Aid Development of Pain and Mood Interventions

Jan. 14, 2014 - The doorway to treating pain and mood disorders through interfacing with opioid receptors may have widened with discovery of the architecture of a sodium channel that seems common to all three types of opioid receptors. As reported in Nature, the work was achieved by crystalizing the receptors and visualizing their structure through X-ray crystallography. (Medical News Today)

Randomized Prospective Clinical Study Favorably Compares Sacral Neuromodulation to Standard Medical Treatment

Jan. 10, 2014 - Sacral neuromodulation to manage mild symptoms of overactive bladder is superior to standard medical treatment in controlling symptoms and contributing to better quality of life, according to a six-month prospective, randomized, multicenter clinical trial. The study was sponsored by the InterStim® Therapy device maker, Medtronic, Inc. (Neurourology and Urodynamics)

TV Pain Documentary Introduces Spinal Cord Stimulation for Neuropathic Pain

Jan. 10, 2014 - Spinal cord stimulation is described as a non-drug approach to controlling back pain in a Discovery Channel documentary, "Pain Matters." (Newsmax Health)

Article Discusses Activity of Deep Brain Stimulation in Motor Disorder

January 2014 - Recent animal and human evidence strongly suggests that antidromic activation from the subthalamic nucleus desynchronizes motor cortex activity. The implications for the pathogenesis and treatment of Parkinson's disease are discussed. (JAMA Neurology)

Expert Panel on Occipital Nerve Stimulation for Medically Refractory Primary Headache Starts Today for INS Members

Jan. 13, 2014 - The International Neuromodulation Society is hosting an Expert Panel for members on occipital nerve stimulation for medically refractory primary headache, co-moderated from Jan. 13 - 27 by specialists who have published groundbreaking studies about the technique since its inception -- Prof. Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, director of the Headache Center at the University of California, San Francisco; and Richard L. Weiner, MD, clinical associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Chairman of Neurosurgery at THR Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. (International Neuromodulation Society)

Gene Therapy Dosing Trial in Parkinson's Patients

Jan 10, 2014 - In a dosing trial involving 15 patients with advanced Parkinson's disease, researchers have injected a gene-therapy vector bilaterally into the patients' putamen to produce dopamine there. Patients who received the highest dosages had to reduce their intake of levodopa. In a publication in Lancet, the researchers report that motor scores improved at 6 and 12 months, and the therapeutic, ProSavin, was safe and well-tolerated with mild to moderate side-effects. Kyriacos Mitrophanous, head of research at Oxford BioMedica in England, the company that developed the therapy and funded the study, said he thinks the treatment will eventually outperform deep brain stimulation or levodopa. (Imperial College London)

Small-town Neuromodulation Center Has Big Plans

Jan. 9, 2014 - The Greenville Neuromodulation Center is offering distance learning to clinicians about deep brain stimulation and has opened a facility on the main street of its small hometown north of Pittsburgh, PA to bring together patients, their families, and visiting healthcare professionals, as well as facilities for treatment, diagnosis and recovery, and training and research. In addition, the center has established a teaching relationship with neuroscience students at the local Thiel College. (Keystone Edge)

Study: Neurostimulation Device for Sleep Apnea Reduced Symptoms 70%

Jan. 9, 2014 - An office-based low-magnetic-field stimulation approach to relieving depression, accidentally discovered when bipolar patients were receiving MRIs 12 years ago, has become the first to be selected for a 90-day proof-of-concept trial under the NIH's Rapidly Acting Treatments for Treatment Resistant Depression program, according to the company, Tal Medical of Boston. Tal (Hindi for rhythm) believes the oscillating magnetic field of the MRI was resetting the brain's rhythm while being too low to trigger neuron firing. The company is being incubated by PureTech Ventures of Boston. (Fierce Medical Devices)

Study: Neurostimulation Device for Sleep Apnea Reduced Symptoms 70%Jan. 8, 2014 - Medtronic, Inc.'s spinout Inspire Medical Systems of Maple Grove, MN reported in the New England Journal of Medicine a prospective study of 126 patients with obstructive sleep apnea in whom symptoms of interrupted breathing at night dropped some 70% within a year of being implanted with a hypoglossal nerve stimulator. The company is scheduled to present the device for FDA review next month. The implant was studied in patients who had trouble accepting or adhering to the current standard treatment, a sleep mask called a continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP. (MedPage Today)

Optogenetics Study Pinpoints Activity of a Brain Center in a Rat Model of Alcoholism

Jan. 3, 2014 - A low and prolonged level of dopamine release accomplished through optogenetics stopped rats from bingeing or consuming alcohol, and the cessation continued even after stimulation ended, according to a university press release about experiments reported in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. The stimulation centered on a region that was known to be activated through alcoholic behavior, the ventral tegmental area. Its role had not been clear. The study indicated that tonic, but not phasic, stimulation led to attenuated alcohol consumption by the rats. (State University of New York, Buffalo)

Medicare Recipients are Under-Represented Among Parkinson's Disease Patients Receiving Deep Brain Stimulation
Jan. 3, 2014 - An analysis of more than 665,000 Medicare recipients between 2007-2009 by collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University in St. Louis found that patients with Parkinson's disease from lower socioeconomic strata are less likely to receive deep brain stimulation (DBS) for motor symptoms. The study, published in Neurology, states that out-of-pocket costs for DBS are 41% higher than non-DBS care, so low-income seniors may be less willing to pay the approximately $2,200 per year, and referring and treating physicians may be less likely to consider the treatment.(Medical Xpress)

 
     
Last Updated on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 09:09 PM
 
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