News Briefs from the International Neuromodulation Society

 

Emerging Therapies & Diagnostic Tools News Feed

Woman Seeks Insurance Coverage for Deep Brain Stimulation for Tremor Related to Multiple Sclerosis

July 24, 2014 - A multiple sclerosis patient who was referred to deep brain stimulation for her tremor plans to appeal the decision by her insurance company to not cover costs of the procedure on the basis of not being medically necessary. (WUSA-9)

Child Who Received Auditory Brainstem Implant Now Notices Sounds

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)

Closed-Loop Neurostimulation Device Maker Participates in Memory Research

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)

External Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation to Be Studied as Adjunctive Therapy in One Type of Childhood Epilepsy

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)

Neuroprosthetics Researcher to Head Center in Switzerland

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)

Parkinson's Patient in the UK Describes Benefits of His Deep Brain Stimulation

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)

Early Tests Reported Concerning Steering Technology for Deep Brain Stimulation

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)

Non-invasive Optogenetics Research Advances in Animal Studies

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)

Non-invasive Stimulation Studied to Improve Reasoning, Learning and Memory

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)

Neurosurgeon Provides Deep Brain Stimulation Services in Canadian Province

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)

Proponent Calls for Cooperation and Collaboration in Brain-Research Efforts

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)

$22.5 Million Brain-Mapping Project Will Investigate Boosting Memory

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)

Segment Features "Brain Radio" Technology Study

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)

News Feature Surveys Brain Research Providing Insight Into the Functional Basis of Memory

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)

Researchers Rule Out Gastrointestinal Transit Rate to Explain Improvements from Sacral Neuromodulation

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)

Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Pilot Study Planned in Treatment-Resistant Anorexia

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)

Epilepsy Brain-Stimulation Study Finds Switch for Consciousness

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)

NIH to Invest in Organ-System Peripheral Neurostimulation Development

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)

Low-Back Pain Clinical Trial Expands to Belgium

June 30, 2014 - The Belgium Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products has granted Mainstay Medical International plc permission to expand its clinical trial there of the ReActiv8 implantable neurostimulation device for low back pain. The clinical trial started in Australia in March 2014. (Wall Street Journal)

Guidelines for Overactive Bladder Treatment List Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation Third

June 30, 2014 - Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) is listed as a third-line therapy for overactive bladder in the recently updated guidelines from the American Urological Association and the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction, Uroplasty, Inc. announced. The company is the only manufacturer of a commercially available PTNS system, Urgent® PC. (MarketWatch)

Comparison Study Finds Burst Stimulation More Effective on Average Than Conventional Stimulation

June 26, 2014 - Burst stimulation was preferable to tonic stimulation in 102 patients who received spinal cord stimulation at a center in Belgium or one in the Netherlands. The patients had been receiving conventional (tonic) spinal cord stimulation and were either responders or had stopped responding to tonic stimulation. Of the group that no longer responded to tonic stimulation, 62.5% responded to burst stimulation, with an average pain suppression of 43%. Most responders to tonic stimulation responded further with burst stimulation, with average pain suppression in that group increasing from 50.6% to 73.6%. (Clinical Journal of Pain)

Pilot-Study Results Presented on Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Chronic Migraine

June 26, 2014 - Two posters at the American Headache Society meeting in California showed that a sham-controlled pilot study of electroCore's non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy for chronic migraine met its safety endpoint and demonstrated a reduction in headache days for patients using the active device. (Digital Journal)

Sacral Neuromodulation Gains Ground with Increased Funding in the Province of Ontario

June 24, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Magdy Hassouna, MD, PhD is mentioned as one of two urologic surgeons in Ontario, Canada who provides sacral neuromodulation. An increase in funding from the Ministry of Health means 120 patients a year can now be treated for symptoms of overactive bladder and other urologic dysfunctions. (Toronto Star)

Early Results Reported on New Neurostimulation Lead for Pain Control in Amputees

June 2014 - In a proof-of-concept trial of a peripheral nerve stimulator intended to be less invasive and more flexible and stretchable for use in amputees, 14 of 16 patients experienced significant pain relief in a two-week trial, according to a presentation by International Neuromodulation Society member Richard Rauck, MD, at the 2013 annual Pain Medicine Meeting of the American Society for Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. (Pain Medicine News)

Review Documents Non-Motor Improvements from Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson's Disease

June 26, 2014 - A review of the scientific literature by a physician in Britain documents the effects of deep brain stimulation in improving non-motor symptoms, such as sleep disturbances, in addition to motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease, said to be the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the United States. (Medical News Today)

Low-Frequency Stimulation of White-Matter Brain Tracts to Be Investigated in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

June 25, 2014 - A clinical trial starting at the George Washington University School of Medicine in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy will explore low-frequency stimulation of a white matter tract, that includes the fornix, to see if it reduces seizures without unduly impacting memory. In a previous study that used this stimulation mode temporarily in patients being monitored prior to surgery, low-frequency stimulation reduced seizures 92% while activating the hippocampus and other areas of the declarative memory circuit. That study was published in the Annals of Neurology in 2013 by Mohamad Z. Koubeissi MD and co-authors who are members of the International Neuromodulation Society: Emine Kahriman MD; Tanvir U. Syed MD, MPH; Jonathan Miller, MD; and Dominique M. Durand, PhD. (Newswise)

Retrospective Study Fine-Tunes Target for Deep Brain Stimulation in Dystonia

June 25, 2014 - A retrospective modeling study of 21 patients with DYT1-type dystonia who responded well to deep brain stimulation indicates the optimal stimulation target was a region of 135.5 cubic millimeters within the globus pallidus -- a "target within a target". (Medical Xpress)

Television Segment Features Overactive Bladder Treatment

June 24, 2014 - A woman who has received seven of her 12 weekly treatments for overactive bladder using posterior tibial nerve stimulation says she already has stopped having to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. The Terre Haute, Indiana clinic where she receives her treatment has just started offering this service. (MyWaboshValley.com)

Tinnitus Patients are Sought for Clinical Trial in Detroit

June 24, 2014 - The Henry Ford Health System in Detroit is recruiting patients with tinnitus for a clinical trial that compares sham treatment to vagus nerve stimulation paired with audio therapy. After six weeks, separate active and sham treatment groups will all receive active treatment. The center is one of four worldwide carrying out the study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. (Newswise)

Child Receives Deep Brain Stimulation to Control Her Dystonia

June 23, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member John Honeycutt, MD, was interviewed in a television segment about a 7-year-old girl in California who received deep brain stimulation for dystonia. Her procedure was done while she was asleep, and she has been showing improvements that should continue in the months to come. (ABC30)

UK Woman Awaits Word on Request for NHS to Provide Recommended Sacral Neuromodulation

June 19, 2014 - Due to what a local health authority termed  "gaps and inconsistencies," a Nottinghamshire, UK woman who has applied three times for a sacral neuromodulation implant to help her void her bladder over the last three years is still awaiting a response to her third request to the National Health Service. The 29-year-old woman was recommended for the operation by her consultant, who said it could "transform her life," which now involves catheterizing four or more times a day. (BBC News)

Technology Allows Paralyzed Patient to Move Hand

June 24, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society Director-at-Large Ali Rezai, MD, director of the Ohio State University Neuroscience Program, was interviewed by major news media about the first paralyzed patient to undergo a clinical trial involving technology developed by Battelle research labs to restore motion to a paralyzed hand. The technology enabled the 23-year-old patient to use an implanted microchip sensor and a "sleeve" of electrode stimulators to open and close his hand for the first time since a spine injury from a diving accident four years ago. Dr. Rezai performed the neurosurgery to place the sensor on the patient's motor cortex. The patient is the first of five potential participants in the six-month trial. His participation was described in the Washington Post. (CBS This Morning)

Five-Year Study Shows Significant Benefit of Adjunctive Vagus Nerve Stimulation in Treatment-Resistant Depression

June 23, 2014 - A five-year study of nearly 800 people with treatment-resistant depression showed that in the 494 patients who also had vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) as an adjunct to usual treatment, VNS was safe and resulted in significantly better response and remission rates than usual treatment alone. The data show a 20- to 30-point separation in response and remission between the two groups, according to the observational study presented in Florida at the American Society for Clinical Psychopharmacology Annual Meeting. (Medscape)

News Show Features Deep Brain Stimulation Patient Who Has OCD

June 23, 2014 - A man with obsessive compulsive disorder is featured in a CNN segment about deep brain stimulation that likens his condition to a "neurological hiccup". The segment follows him through post-operative programming. (CNN)

Injured Former Firefighter Becomes an Advocate for Spinal Cord Stimulation

June 22, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society President-Elect Dr. Timothy Deer explains when to consider spinal cord stimulation (SCS) as an option for chronic pain in a news feature about a former triathlete who eventually found relief for chronic pain through SCS after a sustaining injuries in an accident that required multiple surgeries. The former firefighter was able to return to work and stop taking pain medication. (Scoop San Diego)

In a Small Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial, Most Back-Pain Patients Preferred Burst Stimulation

June 19, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Stefan Schu MD, PhD and colleagues report a randomized controlled clinical trial in 20 patients who use spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for failed back surgery syndrome. In random order, for one week, the patients received 500-Hz tonic stimulation, burst stimulation, and placebo stimulation. Sixteen patients (80%) preferred the burst stimulation mode, which overall provided better pain relief and quality of life in the short term of the research study. The authors recommend expanded studies in patients who have not previously received SCS. (Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface)

Sacral Neuromodulation Offered to Children at Pediatric Hospital

June 17, 2014 - Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio is piloting sacral neuromodulation in children for bladder and bowel control. A 16-year-old girl's case was described in which she had a permanent implant in May. For nine years, she had been unable to attend high school and underwent strictly timed, painful colon flushes that limited her ability to participate in activities. Her doctor said it may take 6 months to 1 year for the colon to begin functioning properly. The center has used the procedure on patients who have a missing or blocked passage for elimination of stool due to congenital imperforate anus. (News-medical.net)

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Study in Post-Stroke Pain Indicates Possible Brain Networks Involved

June 17, 2014 - In 14 patients with central post-stroke pain and deficits in thermal perception, five sessions of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation targeted to the motor region for the affected area provided moderate pain relief for up to four weeks post-treatment. The analgesia correlated with improvements in detection of warmth, indicating the treatment mechanism may share circuitry for the processing of noxious and thermal signals, such as the insula and the somatosensory and anterior cingulate cortices. (Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface)

Health Charity Brings Parkinson's Study of Deep Brain Stimulation to Parliament

June 16, 2014 - Saying "there's still a postcode lottery in the UK when it comes to accessing Parkinson's services," the health charity Parkinson's UK presented a study it funded with the Medical Research Council and the Department for Health on deep brain stimulation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research's summer reception. (Parkinson's UK)

Survey Identifies Factors That Influence Conversion to Spinal Cord Stimulation Implants

June 13, 2014 - A national survey of rates of conversion to permanent spinal cord stimulator (SCS) implants after a percutaneous trial found that relatively younger patients, those who had commercial insurance, and patients who had not previously attempted a percutaneous SCS trial were more likely to convert to a permanent implant. Of more than 20,000 percutaneous trials from 2000-2009 surveyed in the U.S., the overall conversion rate was 41.4%, with the highest rate (44.5%) in the North-Central region and the lowest (36.1%) in the Northeast. (Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface)

Pilot Study Data Reported Regarding Spinal Cord Stimulation for Heart Failure

June 13, 2014 - The era of device therapy to modulate autonomic tone has arrived, and randomized controlled trials should help to discern the extent of the promise, according to a commentary on a report from the Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions regarding 17 heart failure patients who participated in a clinical trial of spinal cord stimulation (SCS). With a mean followup of 18 months, the results of the first-in-man trial of dual-targeted high-thoracic SCS for systolic heart failure demonstrated safety and improved symptoms, functional status, left ventricular function and remodeling. (Healio)

Flexible, Wireless, Sensing-and-Stimulating Electrodes to Be Prototyped in Research Collaboration

June 11, 2014 - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has received $5.6 million from the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency as part of the agency's Systems-Based Neurotechnology Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) program. The laboratory previously contributed to development of Second Sight Medical Products's artificial retina, and in the SUBNETS program will work with Medtronic and collaborate with the University of California, San Francisco; UC Berkeley; Cornell University' New York University; PositScience Inc. and Cortera Neurotechnologies. LLNL plans to use thin-film technology and 3D packaging to develop flexible neural interfaces with hundreds of electrodes that operate wirelessly. (Phys.org)

Friends of Trigeminal Neuralgia Patient Seek Funds for Neurostimulation Implant

June 11, 2014 - A woman who seeks an off-label neurostimulation implant to control her chronic face and head pain is the subject of a fund-raising drive to try to raise $72,000 for the procedure. She has had trigeminal neuralgia with attacks almost weekly for five years, possibly related to sinus infections and repeat surgeries. (Missoulian)

Michigan Epilepsy Patients Receive Responsive Neurostimulation Implants

June 11, 2014 - The Grand Rapids, MI-based Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital is one of 10 U.S. centers approved to implant the new NeuroPace Responsive Neurostimulation System. The first two Michigan patients received implants there in May to control symptoms of their epilepsy. (Medical Xpress)

Cluster Headache Therapy Results Released

June 10, 2014 - In the 10-center PREVA clinical trial in Europe, after three to four weeks of non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy, 45 patients with cluster headache saw their number of incidents decrease by 46.3%. Another 48 patients who were randomized to receive the best available standard of care had a decrease of 12.5%. The stimulation was delivered using the gammaCore device by New Jersey-based electroCore Medical, LLC. (News-Medical.Net)

Florida Television Station Interviews Patient Who Prefers Neurostimulation to Ongoing Painkiller Use

June 10, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Louis Raso, MD, describes the advantages of a newer spinal cord stimulator system that captures back pain without paresthesia to the legs, in an interview that also features a chronic-pain patient who says he benefited from the device. (WPLG)

Study: Adjusting Pulse Width Can Limit Side Effects of Deep Brain Stimulation

June 10, 2014 - Shorter pulse widths may avoid deep-brain-stimulation-related side effects for Parkinson's disease patients, according to a 15-person clinical study in Europe that was announced at the 18th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders in Stockholm. The Boston Scientific Corporation CUSTOM-DBS study in used its Vercise DBS System, which is undergoing a U.S. clinical trial, INTREPID, for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. (MarketWatch

Pennsylvania Women's Health Center to Offer Sacral Neuromodulation

June 9, 2014 - Following training in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Lebannon and London, an obstetrics and gynecology practitioner who joined the Women’s Health Center at Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport, PA offers sacral nerve stimulation for some cases of treatment-resistant urinary or fecal incontinence. (The Bradford Era)

More Spinal Cord Stimulator Patients Could be Accommodated by Newcastle-Area Clinic

June 6, 2014 - The pain management team at the Royal Victoria Infirmary of the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust treats some 600 patients with chronic pain who use spinal cord stimulators, but has room for at least 100 more to be referred by their general practitioner, according to a nurse consultant at the Northeast England facility. (BBC)

Magazine Publishes Experts' Roundtable Discussion of Spinal Cord Stimulation

June 2014 - Pain Medicine News has published roundtable discussion about spinal cord stimulation patient selection, imaging considerations, and advances, which was held by specialists in anesthesiology, neurosurgery, pain medicine and radiology, and moderated by the magazine at the December 2013 annual meeting of the North American Neuromodulation Society. (Pain Medicine News)

Station Features Tinnitus Patient Who Hopes to Join a U.S. Clinical Trial Involving Vagus Nerve Stimulation

June 4, 2014 - A church choir director hopes to participate in a U.S. clinical trial that combines sound therapy with vagus nerve stimulation, having already found some relief in sound therapy alone. (KFSN)

Researchers in Germany Report an Investigative Brain Stimulation Target for Severe, Refractory Tourette Syndrome

June 2, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Veerle Visser-Vandewalle, MD, PhD and co-authors at the University of Cologne Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy report a case series of eight patients with medically intractable, severe Tourette syndrome who were treated with deep brain stimulation in the ventral anterior and ventrolateral motor part of the thalamus to improve motor and emotional stability. Follow-up of up to one year indicated these duel stimulation targets may be a valuable option with a low side-effect profile. (Biological Psychiatry)

Clinicians Demonstrate Benefits of Directional Deep Brain Stimulation

May 30, 2014 - In the first demonstration in humans, neurologists and neurosurgeons in Switzerland and Canada report in the journal Brain that 13 deep brain stimulation patients were involved in an intraoperative double-blind pilot study that showed that when using a smaller, directional electrode for stimulation, 43% less current was required for beneficial stimulation than with omnidirectional stimulation, and the therapeutic window to achieve the stimulation target was 41% wider, although computational modeling indicated the volume of tissue activated was only 4.2 cubic mm in the directional mode, as opposed to 10.5 cubic mm in the omnidirectional mode. (Medical News Today)

Preclinical Study to Enhance Deep Brain Stimulation Identifies Neuronal Role in Stress Response

May 28, 2014 - A study of synaptic modifications in mice, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, might help to refine deep brain stimulation for depression, according to researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. They found that neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex were more excitable in depressed mice, but harder to excite in mice that exhibited resilience to environmental stressors, and plan to look more closely into excitatory or inhibitory factors. (Scientific American)

DARPA Project Researchers Target Higher-Resolution Recordings of Brain Circuit Activity

May 27, 2014 - The University of California, San Francisco and Massachusetts General Hospital are leading the five-year, $70 million program of the Defense Projects Research Agency to help military personnel with psychiatric disorders through implantation of brain-stimulation devices. Researchers in San Francisco will first attempt to obtain higher-resolution recordings of changes in real time from brain circuits of volunteers who have received implants for Parkinson's disease or epilepsy, many of whom also have depression or anxiety, according to a radio interview on All Things Considered. (NPR)

Future Closed-Loop Brain Stimulation Systems Will Need Low-Power Embedded Microprocessors

May 27, 2014 - An electrical and computer engineering professor who heads Rice University's Realtime Neural Engineering Laboratory and is an assistant professor of neurology at Baylor College of Medicine is working on developing deep brain stimulation that uses real-time computer processing to monitor and respond to changes in the brain. He says energy demands from this more precise approach, which should limit unwanted stimulation beyond the target, is one challenge in realizing the advance. (Medical Xpress)

Pioneer in Using Functional Electrical Stimulation Holds Question-and-Answer Session

May 27, 2014 - Jennifer French, executive director of the Neurotech Network, participated over the weekend in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session about her use of a functional electrical stimulation system to stand and transfer after incurring a partial spinal cord injury during a 1998 snowboarding accident. (Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry)

Deep Brain Stimulation Viewed As Best of Options by Former Wales Rock Musician

May 27, 2014 - A 64-year-old former rock drummer from Wales, Pete Boot, describes how deep brain stimulation earlier this year has restored much of his mobility and should help slow the impact of the Parkinson's disease he has coped with for the past 20 years. (contactmusic.com)

Researchers Look to Light-Converting Nanoparticle to Devise Optogenetics Without Fiber Optics

May 23, 2014 - Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have received a three-year. $900,000 grant from the Human Frontiers Science Program for preclinical studies of "wireless" optogenetics in mice and fruit flies. The researchers will use a new nanoparticle that can convert infrared light to blue light, in lieu of needing fiber optics to deliver a light pulse. (R&D Magazine)

Engineers Publish A Way to Power Microstimulators Wirelessly

May 23, 2014 - A Stanford University electrical engineering team has published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences their results showing that a 2mm-long microstimulator deep within tissue can be powered at what is deemed to be safe exposure levels by using a flat, patterned external charger that causes radio waves to propagate in a focused fashion through tissue. The method was demonstrated in a miniaturized cardiac pacemaker in a rabbit. (R&D Magazine)

Data Analysis: Spinal Cord Stimulation is Superior but Underused for Chronic Pain of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

May 20, 2014 - An analysis of 16,455 patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) from 2000 - 2009 showed that in the 395 who received spinal cord stimulation (SCS), they experienced lower complication rates at 90 days than the patients who underwent lumbar reoperation, and the overall cost at two years was lower. International Neuromodulation Society member Shivanand Lad, MD, PhD and co-authors conclude that although previous studies have demonstrated its superior efficacy for FBSS, SCS remains underused and warrants closer consideration for the management of chronic pain in patients with FBSS. (Spine)

Occipital Nerve Stimulation Study Presented at Physician Assistants' Annual Meeting

May 26, 2014 - A poster presented at the American Association of Physician Assistants meeting in Boston described a reduction in the severity and frequency of chronic recurring headaches in a small study of patients receiving occipital nerve stimulation in Indiana. The 17 patients had shown an improvement in symptoms through an occipital nerve block prior to stimulator implantation. The severity of headaches declined in six months from an average of 9 on a 10-point scale to 3.3. (Clinical Advisor)

Portable Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Device Receives Food and Drug Administration Approval

May 23, 2014 - Maryland-based eNeura announced it received FDA approval for its handheld SpringTMS system to relieve pain from migraines preceded by an aura. When users feel a migraine coming on, the mobile magnetic stimulator is held to the back of the head to temporarily depolarize nerve cells in the occipital lobe. Use of the device led to 38% of patients being pain-free within 2 hours of using the device, compared with only 17% of patients in the control group, in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of more than 200 patients. (Mass Device)

Stroke Rehabilitation Study Using Magnetic Brain Stimulation Expands to More U.S. Centers

May 22, 2014 - Use of externally applied magnetic brain stimulation during occupational therapy for stroke rehabilitation helped 80% of patients regain use of their arm and hand, which was 30% more than possible with standard therapy, according to a pilot study of 30 patients at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The study, which directs the brain stimulation using navigated GPS-like tracking created by Nexstim Corporation, has been expanded after its initial six months to include 12 more centers in the U.S. (PR Newswire)

Journal Article Analyzes Media Coverage of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation

May 22, 2014 - Only 8 out of 218 popular news articles about transcranial direct current stimulation mention its possible adverse effects, or advised caution, according to an analysis by researchers at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal, which was published in Neuron. The authors make recommendations for a more balanced public discussion and view of the non-invasive stimulation, which has been presented in some news accounts as a potentially affordable, and even homemade, approach to cognitive enhancement. (Medical Xpress)

Experts Note Significance of Data on Spinal Cord Stimulation Wait Times

May 21, 2014 - Appropriate patient selection and referral to evaluation for spine surgery or pain medicine specialists should help to shorten wait times for spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and improve its chance of success, experts commented in an article about a poster at the American Academy of Pain Medicine 2014 annual meeting by Drs. Syed Rizvi and Krisha Kumar of the University of Saskatchewan. The poster about SCS wait times examined 437 patients and reviewed data from 443 patients. International Neuromodulation Society member Tim Deer, MD commented, "This information should encourage insurance companies to seek out centers of excellence and try to obtain access to SCS early in the severe nerve pain patient." (Pain Medicine News)

U.S. Woman Recounts Her Positive Experience with Neurostimulation for Treatment-Resistant Migraine

May 20, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member William Rosenberg and his patient were interviewed about neurostimulation therapy in a segment on Kansas City television. The piece reported that after a long search for an effective chronic migraine therapy, his patient received relief through occipital/peripheral nerve stimulation, which was covered by her insurance despite being off-label in the U.S. (WDAF-TV)

Physician in India Describes Parkinson's Disease Patient's Benefits From Deep Brain Stimulation

May 20, 2014 - A U.S.-trained physician in India describes how his young-onset Parkinson's disease patient was able to better manage symptoms after deep brain stimulation. (Times of India)

Neurostimulation Technologies Are Described as Showing "the Future is Now"

May 20, 2014 - Cyberonics Inc.'s AspireSR vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) system for epilepsy and Cirtec Medical Systems LLC's shrinking active-implantable devices are among the technologies presented in a column about futuristic advances that are already in implementation. The seventh-generation, wirelessly programmable VNS system with seizure response has CE mark approval and may be presented to the FDA with data from a recently completed clinical study. Meanwhile, Cirtec specializes in compact, hermetically sealed components and has provided contract services for neurostimulators targeting the brain, spinal cord, and vision restoration. (Medical Design)

Telemedicine Application Helps Brain Surgery for Movement Disorder

May 20, 2014 - A neurosurgeon conducting brain surgery on a young woman with severe, medically-resistant movement disorder was able to have real-time expertise from a Pennsylvania-based intraoperative neurophysiologist to track microelectrode recordings. Such web-based brain mapping was developed in part at the Greenville Neuromodulation Center of Pennsylvania. (University Chronicle)

Infant Said to Be Youngest to Receive Auditory Brainstem Implant in U.S. Clinical Trial

May 19, 2014 - A girl slightly less than 1 year old received an auditory brainstem implant in March as part of a clinical trial in the U.S. to investigate using the technology in young children who are not candidates for cochlear implants and never had the ability to hear. In the U.S. the implants are approved for patients aged 12 and older who have lost function of their auditory nerve due to cancer or an injury. The patient in Boston became the youngest to receive the implant as part of the clinical trial. (WBZ-TV)

Essential Tremor Patient Spreads Awareness About Deep Brain Stimulation

May 17, 2014 - A woman who benefited from deep brain stimulation for her essential tremor now gives talks to second-year medical students at Dartmouth College and to patient-support groups. The therapy allowed her to return to her occupation in hospital nursing. (Union Leader)

Neural Prosthetic System Under Development to Aid Movement After Partial Spinal Cord Injury

May 16, 2014 - The NEUWalk project in Europe has received some 9 million euros for research into an implanted microelectrode array that stimulates nerve roots in the spine to aid locomotion. The neural prosthetic system incorporates sensing microelectrodes and microprocessing. Two patients who have partial spinal cord injury are due to receive a tailored version of the device in the summer prior to a potential larger clinical trial. The preclinical version of the technology will be shown at the Sensor + Test measurement fair in Nürnberg, Germany June 3 - 5. The researchers believe such a system may have an application in Parkinson's disease as well. (News-Medical.net)

Technology Publication Features Vagus Nerve Stimulation for High Blood Pressure

May 14, 2014 - Saying it may not be until 10 years that an implantable vagus nerve stimulator system for high blood pressure that was demonstrated in preclinical work is ready, an article in Medgadget points out that the approach is inviting since a renal denervation trial of Medtronic's Symplicity system failed to meet a primary efficiency endpoint in its clinical trial. (Medgadget)

Data Presented Comparing Medical Treatment for Depression With Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

May 13, 2014 - A study of 306 patients with major depressive disorder showed that treatment with transcranial magnetic stimulation led to 53% reporting no or mild depression, compared to 38% of people on antidepressants reporting similar outcomes after the same length of treatment, according to a presentation at the 167th American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting. (Time)

Brain Stimulation Study Links Oscillation Frequency With Conscious Awareness

May 11, 2014 - A sleep study with 27 healthy volunteers in Frankfurt, Germany, used transcranial alternating current stimulation (tDACS) during periods of rapid eye movement to induce self-awareness through a lucid dream state that is considered closer to consciousness, in which without awakening, subjects could control the course of their dreams. The authors of the paper in Nature Neuroscience say this is the first time that stimulation (applied between the frontal and temporal regions of the brain at lower gamma frequencies of 25 and 40 Hz) linked, in a causal fashion, synchronous oscillations at that bandwidth to conscious awareness. They believe frontotemporal tACS might help restore dysfunctional brain networks involved in schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder, or help patients overcome post-traumatic nightmares. (Medical Xpress)

Burst-Mode Spinal Cord Stimulation Presented at Singapore Meeting

May 9, 2014 - Burst stimulation in spinal cord stimulation was described as influencing the medial pathway and thus helping take away the salience of pain, during a presentation at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists annual scientific meeting in Singapore by one of the developers of St. Jude Medical's Prodigy device, which was approved for sale in Europe in April. At the same meeting,  the immediate past dean of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists' Faculty of Pain Medicine said he is trying to set up a registry for neurostimulation devices. (The Age)

Selective Stimulation of Barofibers Described in Preclinical Study of Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Lowering Blood Pressure

May 8, 2014 - Scientists writing in the Journal of Neural Engineering describe proof-of-concept data from five rats for a vagus nerve stimulation cuff device, with 24 electrodes, designed to address hypertension. The prototype device includes detection and signal processing to sense barofibers and selectively stimulate them to lower blood pressure while avoiding unintentional stimulation effects such as bradycardia and bradypnea. The rats' blood pressure was adjusted to 60% and the effect lasted up to five times longer than the stimulation. (Medical Xpress)

Six-Month Followup Data Presented for Spinal Cord Stimulation Programming Software

May 8, 2014 - In 140 patients who have used the Boston Scientific Corporation Precision Spectra(TM) Spinal Cord Stimulator System for six months to control low back pain, data show significant and sustained pain relief, according to results presented at the World Institute of Pain 7th World Congress in Maastricht, The Netherlands. The system includes 3D software to guide programming of stimulation, and the clinician programmer using this software has now been launched for sale in Europe. Patients with low back pain reduced their 10-point-scale pain scores from an average 7.15 to 2. 93, while those with severe low-back pain reduced their average score from an initial baseline of 8.78 to 3.68. (Wall Street Journal)

Auditory Brainstem Implant Procedure Performed on First Pediatric Enrollee in Los Angeles

May 7, 2014 - The first preschooler has received an auditory brainstem implant in a clinical trial of up to 10 young children who do not have intact functioning cochlear nerves and so would not respond to a cochlear implant. The 3-year-old boy from Montreal was operated on in Los Angeles. After confirming his brain was responding to stimulation of the cochlear nucleus on the brainstem, his physicians plan to turn the implant on in June. The procedure has been used on people who lost hearing due to a tumor or accident, and in non-hearing patients, would be expected to help the auditory system function if it is performed while the brain is still completing its development during early childhood. (Los Angeles Times)

Pilot Study of Deep Brain Stimulation in Alzheimer's Disease Shows Progress

May 6, 2014 - A team of researchers centered in Cologne, Germany report in Molecular Psychiatry that after 11 months, four of six patients in a pilot study of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease responded to bilateral deep brain stimulation to the nucleus basalis of Meynert. The Alzheimer's symptoms in these four patients remained stable or improved. The target in the medial forebrain was selected to stimulate release of acetylcholine since Alzheimer's disease is associated with loss of cholinergic neurons in this area that projects to the limbic system, which plays a role in the processing of memories. (WebMD)

Article Explores Popular Interest in Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation

May 5, 2014 - Transcranial direct current stimulation is catching the interest of hobbyists interested in pursuing cognitive gains, according to a news feature in Wired magazine. (Wired)

Study: Shorter Longevity for Implantable Pulse Generators Used in Deep Brain Stimulation in Dystonia

May 2014 - Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have evaluated 470 consecutive Soletra implantable pulse generators and found that dystonia patients receiving pallidal deep brain stimulation needed more frequent stimulator adjustments and had a shorter longevity of their implantable pulse generator, compared to patients who received suthalamic and thalamic deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease or essential tremor. (Brain Stimulation)

Enrollment Complete in Clinical Trial of Deep Brain Stimulation in Alzheimer's Disease

May 1, 2014 - Toronto-based Functional Neuromodulation announced it has completed enrollment of 42 patients in a study of deep brain stimulation in mild Alzheimer's disease. The double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial, the ADvance Study, compares stimulation to the fornix with a control group of patients who receive no stimulation for 12 months, after which time the control group patients will also have their stimulators turned on. (NeuroNews)

Dystonia Patient Documents His Treatment Journey to Deep Brain Stimulation

May 1, 2014 - A dystonia patient who received deep brain stimulation to control his symptoms has produced a short film that was submitted to a competition at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Philadelphia. (YouTube)

Study Shows Dopamine Drops When Stimulation is Halted in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

April 30, 2014 - Fifteen patients who had stable obsessive compulsive disorder one year after receiving deep brain stimulation were studied with molecular brain imaging in a study in Biological Psychiatry. The imaging tracked fluctuations in the release of dopamine, which decreased after stimulation was turned off. The results suggest that enhancing striatal dopamine signaling may help relieve treatment-resistant symptoms of the disorder. (Medical Xpress)

Man Who Uses Newly Approved Visual Prosthesis Describes Its Benefits

April 30, 2014 - A man who was one of the first commercial users of Second Sight Medical's Argus II "bionic eye" visual prosthesis described how helpful it is to be able to counteract the impairment of his retinitis pigmentosa by now being able to distinguish between light and dark shapes and see contrasts. That change allows him to navigate his world much better, he said. (Mass Device)

Entrepreneurs Plan a Noninvasive Approach to Cognitive Enhancement

April 30, 2014 - Halo Neuroscience plans to use a range of electromagnetic approaches, including electricity, magnetic fields, infrared light, and radio waves, for its external devices to improve cognition. The company was started by Amol Sarva, PhD and includes former NeuroPace Inc. employees Daniel Chao, MD and Brett Wingeler, PhD. The company received a $1.5 million financing round backed by venture capital investor Marc Andreessen. (The Verge)

News Coverage Presents Spinal Cord Stimulation as an Option in Chronic Back Pain

April 30, 2014 - A special report on using spinal cord stimulation for back pain says it has been around since the 1960s but it has taken off in recent years, is covered by medical insurance, and can be an option a physician might consider in cases of chronic pain. A patient who did not receive relief from repeat back surgery is profiled. (Kiii News)

Community Turns Out to Help a Patient Who Plans to Travel to Receive Deep Brain Stimulation

April 29, 2014 - Friends organized a community event to help raise money for a Parkinson's disease patient who plans to have deep brain stimulation surgery out of town, in Kansas City. For a nominal fee, 300 people donned glow-in-the-dark attire to participate in the event, which included a 1.6-mile race followed by a dance and obstacle course. (Hays Daily News)

Authors Propose Ways to Foster Research into Neurological Devices

April 22, 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Andre Machado, MD, PhD, and co-authors write in Neurology that "both the structure of clinical trial funding and the current regulation of device research" dissuade "formal and prospective research with novel devices or novel indications". They suggest five remedies, including combining federal grant awards with regulatory approval and providing private insurance for clinical trials. (Neurology)

Pediatric Dystonia Patients Receive Deep Brain Stimulation

April 28, 2014 - A girl who regained mobility after receiving deep brain stimulation for dystonia sat with her mother at a news conference while the doctor described the operation. She was one of six children treated at Phoenix Children's Hospital. (KTAR)

Review: Deep Brain Stimulation Reduces Symptoms of Treatment-Resistant Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

April 25, 2014 - Five randomized controlled trials of active vs. sham deep brain stimulation in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) through April 2013, comprising 44 subjects, indicate that the treatment had a significantly lower mean score in symptoms, representing partial remission of treatment-resistant OCD. However, there were significant adverse effects experienced in one-third of cases (16). (Psychological Medicine)

Interviewers Assess Impact of Patient's Approach to Being Referred to Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's Disease

April 25, 2014 - Researchers interviewed 39 men and eight women who received deep brain stimulation (DBS) implants at the University Hospital of Northern Sweden between 2002 - 2010, and three additional female DBS patients to achieve a more gender-balanced sample. The results suggest that many patients "have to argue and struggle with their clinicians in order to be referred to a DBS-team," the authors write. They also believe that outlook and approach may contribute to a gender-skewed distribution of treatment. (BMC Neurology)

Combined Cochlear Stimulation and Nerve Growth Factor May Enhance Hearing, Animal Study Indicates

April 24, 2014 - Researchers at the University of New South Wales carried out studies in guinea pigs to see whether gene therapy can maintain the health of auditory nerves to enhance the dynamic range of cochlear implant stimulation while permitting a lower stimulus threshold. In deaf guinea pigs, the team used the phenomenon of electrically opening pores in the nerve cells to introduce naked DNA -- without a viral vector -- that codes for production of neurotrophin. As they report in Science Translational Medicine, the nerve growth factor was seen to influence nerve regeneration, so that the auditory nerve naturally grew toward the cochlea, improving the animals' hearing. (Medgadget)

Responsive Neurostimulation Called a "Welcome New Arrival" for Treatment of Medically Refractory Epilepsy

April 22, 2014 - A two-year followup on the capability to use responsive neurostimulation (RNS) to treat refractory epilepsy indicates, two co-authors write, that "long-term RNS treatment is safe, and that efficacy improves with time. . . . RNS is a welcome new arrival in the armamentarium of epilepsy treatments." (Nature Reviews Neurology)

Retrospective Study Looks at Spinal Cord Stimulation Conversion from Percutaneous Trials

April 23, 2014 - Using data from MarketScan, a database that contains longitudinal patient billing data for 170 million patients from 2000 - 2009, a medical student reported at the recent annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons that 41.4% of U.S. patients had opted for a permanent spinal cord implant after a percutaneous trial. Conversion rates were higher in the North-Central and Southern states as opposed to the Northeast and West. (Medscape)

Magazine Notes Shift in Deep Brain Stimulation Acceptance

May 2014 - A news feature about deep brain stimulation highlights a neurologist-neurosurgeon team who have worked since 2002 in Florida, saying the technique is "one of the most exciting treatments in modern medicine" and "it's easy to imagine a future where brain implants may become as common as hip replacements". (Smithsonian)

Preliminary Findings Presented About Spinal Cord Stimulation System Offering Additional Contacts

April 2014 - International Neuromodulation Society member Salim Hayek, MD, PhD, presented a retrospective study at the December 2013 annual meeting of the North American Neuromodulation Society INS chapter, in which more than 200 patients were trialed with the Boston Scientific Corporation Precision Spectra spinal cord stimulation system. The system allows for up to 32 contacts -- double what was previously available. Prospective and comparative effectiveness research studies have begun, and data from a three-month followup of 32 patients showed a drop in average pain score from 7.05 to 2.96. INS member Tim Deer, MD, was quoted as commenting that the three-month findings are interesting but a cost analysis and prospective data would provide more information. 

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. (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)

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 Friday, July 25, 2014 02:13 PM
 
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