Oct. 24, 2016 - A BBC radio program focuses on disparities in access to sacral neuromodulation in Wales, compared to England or Scotland, for fecal incontinence. (BBC Radio)
Oct. 24, 2016 - An article presents preliminary results of vagus nerve stimulation in Crohn's disease. Results in six patients, presented at the United European Gastroenterology Week, showed reduced signs of excessive inflammation in the gut. Full results of the 20-patient study at four centers in Europe are expected next year. The article says a placebo-controlled study is planned. (Daily Mail)
Oct. 24, 2016 - In a pilot study, 46 heart failure patients with central sleep apnea showed improvement in sleep parameters and cardiac endpoints after undergoing one year of transvenous phrenic nerve stimulation. The implant regularized breathing by stimulating contraction of the diaphragm, (Heart Health)
Oct. 19, 2016 - Brain-stimulation studies reported in Science Advances suggest new possibilities for therapeutic interventions for self-control deficits in disorders like addiction and obesity. A research team showed activity of the temporo-parietal junction allowed study subjects to resist an impulsive choice and make decisions based on their own future needs. The researchers explained they believe that, in addition to the prefrontal cortex, this area is important in the self-control involved in delayed gratification. (Medical Xpress)
Oct. 19, 2016 - St. Jude Medical reported in its third-quarter earnings report that neuromodulation sales increased 17% compared to the same quarter one year ago. Overall net sales were up approximately 2% compared to the third quarter of 2015. (Mass Device)
Oct. 19, 2016 - SetPoint Medical presented data on eight Crohn's disease patients who had received vagus nerve stimulation implants in an open-label trial. After 16 weeks, the company said that six patients had improved so that their Crohn's Disease Activity Index dropped at least 70 points (a score higher than 450 is severe). Three of those patients also reached remission based on endoscopic findings that their bowel lining had renormalized. The investigational treatment is intended to address the body's inflammatory reflex. (Fierce Biotech)
Oct. 19, 2016 - Physicians in Taipei are submitting a case report for publication concerning a 17-year-old girl who received a deep brain stimulation (DBS) implant targeting the anterior thalamic nucleus because she had developed status epilepticus. They said to their knowledge, this is the first case of DBS being used to successfully treat the serious and potentially life-threatening condition. (Taipei Times)
Oct. 18, 2016 - The National Institutes of Health announced its third round of grants for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative. The more than $70 million brings the agency's fiscal 2016 investments to about $150 million. The most recent grants, a spokesman said, involve more projects that are based at least in part on human data. The nine funding categories include neuromodulation and related technologies. For instance, both invasive and non-invasive devices are covered, and new concepts, technologies, and optimization of large-scale recording and modulation, in addition to research for understanding neural circuits. (Healio)
Oct. 17, 2016 - Pain Medicine News reports that a sham-controlled clinical trial of 59 patients with chronic migraine, published in Neurology, showed noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation was safe, tolerable, and potentially effective. (Pain Medicine News)
Oct. 17, 2016 - International Neuromodulation Society member Nigel Kellow, MD, was quoted in an article about a back-pain patient who received a newer spinal cord stimulator. The article covered her treatment and the device features. (Daily Mail)
Oct. 17, 2016 - The University of Alabama at Birmingham announced a $7.3 million, five-year grant from the U.S. BRAIN Initiative to undertake a cross-over study of deep brain stimulation using directional current for patients with Parkinson's disease. The researchers are also studying cortical activation patterns, through electroencephalography, to see if that could help improve programming. (Newswire)
Oct. 17, 2016 - Collaborators will use a $1.4 million, three-year grant from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health to examine processes in learning and memory using ontogenetic tools. Specifically, they will analyze protein activity in neurons during synaptic and behavioral plasticity. (Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience)
Oct. 15, 2016 - The National Institutes of Health announced more than $150 million in funding that includes grants for research projects to develop ways to record brain activity, analyze data to diagnose conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, and improve deep brain stimulation for disorders that include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and obsessive compulsive disorder. The funding represents the third round of grants to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. (Pharmabiz)
Oct. 13, 2016 - International Neuromodulation Society member Andre Machado, MD, PhD received nearly $5 million from the National Institutes of Health's BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) to start a clinical trial building upon his preclinical research into deep brain stimulation as a possible therapy to aid motor recovery during rehabilitation following stroke. (Cleveland Business)
Oct. 13, 2016 - Collaborators at the Baylor College of Medicine, Brown University, and the University of Pittsburgh received a grant from the National Institutes of Health's BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) of $1.5 million annually for five years to develop new deep brain stimulation (DBS) technology to help treat treatment-resistant obsessive compulsive disorder. The collaborators are seeking to create an adaptive stimulation mode that responds to the patient's changing clinical needs. They said they would like to use a closed-loop approach similar to what exists for epilepsy. They proposed a pilot study of 10 subjects. The first five would receive a DBS system that targets the ventral striatum and can both stimulate and record activity. The project also involves training a computer to recognize patient moods as programming is adjusted. (Baylor College of Medicine)
Oct. 13, 2016 - International Neuromodulation Society members Jeffrey Ardell, PhD and Jiande Chen, PhD, were among researchers highlighted in an article about $20 million in funding from the National Institute's of Health that was announced last week. The funding dividing among 27 research teams supports various lines of research into peripheral nerve stimulation therapies. (IEEE Spectrum)
Oct. 13, 2016 - Researchers published in Science Translational Medicine about adding the sense of touch to a prosthetic limb. (Live Science)
Oct. 6, 2016 - St. Jude Medical announced that its deep brain stimulation system with directional leads received FDA approval for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. The system received CE mark approval in September 2015 and was subsequently launched in Europe in June. (Mass Device)
Oct. 5, 2016 - SPR Therapeutics followed up on the July 27, 2016 announcement of FDA approval for its peripheral nerve stimulation system for post-traumatic and post-operative pain with a announcement about neurostimulation emerging as an alternative to opioid analgesics. (Market Wired)
Oct. 5, 2016 - In a comparative study of 350 women with persistent urgency urinary incontinence, onabotulinumtoxinA conferred small improvements compared to sacral neuromodulation (SNM), but also significant adverse effects over the 6-month study period. The number of daily incontinence episodes dropped by 3.9 for the onabotulinumtoxinA group and 3.3 for the SNM group. However, 35% of the patients treated with onabotulinumtoxinA had urinary tract infections vs. 11% of the SNM patients. Also 20% of the onabotulinumtoxinA patients required intermittent self-catherization. (NEJM Journal Watch)
Oct. 4, 2016 - St. Jude Medical announced the FDA has approved its burst form of spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain relief. (Business Wire)
Oct. 3, 2016 - Valencia Technologies announced the FDA granted an Investigational Device Exemption for a clinical trial of its implanted median nerve stimulator for hypertension. The company said it plans to enroll 300 patients in a multicenter study. Patients who have been taking at least three hypertension drugs will receive six months of neurostimulation. They will be evaluated for ambulatory and clinic blood pressure. (Fierce Biotech)
Sept. 30, 2016 - The New York State Department of Health gave a $4.27 million grant to a medical researcher at the City College of New York, who is pursuing a project to translate spinal-cord injury rehabilitation findings from preclinical animal models to humans. The approach involves special patterns of combined brain and cervical spinal cord stimulation to promote repair of residual nerve circuits to hand muscles. (City University of New York)
Sept. 27, 2016 - The University of Minnesota is receiving a $9.07 million grant over five years from the National Institute of Health for its research into Parkinson's disease, including deep brain stimulation to the palladium and effects on brain circuitry. (Life Science Daily)
Sept. 26, 2016 - A computational study of eight research subjects' brain activity recorded in diffusion spectrum imaging showed how stimulation of 83 different areas affected activation of other regions and large-scale activity within the brain, providing insight into different potential therapeutic approaches for neurological or psychiatric disorders. (The Science Explorer)
To see select neuromodulation news by category, as well as news about the INS in particular, please visit the Newsroom. To see archived news briefs dating back to January 2011, visit the News Archive.
How Has Neuromodulation Been Developed and Used?
Conventional medicine has typically had four modes of treating diseases or disorders: counseling or “talk therapy”; physical therapy involving manipulation and strengthening of muscles and range of motion; pharmaceuticals that act on a chemical level; and altering or augmenting tissue through surgery, injections, or filtering methods like dialysis. The growing field of neuromodulation is a new class of therapies that involves directly treating the nervous system itself, often through small implanted devices that target a specific area, to rebalance the activity of neural circuits and manage symptoms.
Progress has been spurred by advances in our understanding of the nervous system, as well as new technologies and clinical experience, enabling treatments to modify nerve cell activity in brain, spinal cord and periphery to restore function, minimize pain, and treat disease symptoms. Developed over the last 45 years, neuromodulation has grown rapidly into a family of therapies that applies stimulation or agents directly to the nervous system, often using small implanted medical devices that are powered in a similar fashion to a cardiac pacemaker. By delivering electrical or chemical stimulation, neuromodulation has increasingly been used to treat motor disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, refractory chronic pain ranging from neuropathy to cancer related pain to severe headaches, spasticity, epilepsy, and incontinence. It is also under study for conditions ranging from gastroparesis to medically refractory depression. Providers of such therapies include neurosurgeons, pain physician specialists and rehabilitation physicians. They may often work with other specialists such as neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, gastrointestinal or colorectal specialists, urologists, primary care physicians, and physical therapists to achieve best outcomes.
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Clinical trials that involve a wide range of emerging neuromodulation approaches are listed on our Resources and Research pages. Neuromodulator trials address symptom control through nerve stimulation in such condition categories as:
If you are not a medical professional and you are searching for information about neuromodulation and how these types of treatment could benefit a specific condition such as treatment-resistant headache or other chronic pain syndromes, you may find the sections titled Therapies, About Neuromodulation or FAQs particularly helpful.
The International Neuromodulation Society (INS) is a non-profit group of clinicians, scientists and engineers dedicated to the scientific development and awareness of neuromodulation - the alteration of nerve activity through the delivery of electrical stimulation or chemical agents to targeted sites of the body. Founded in 1989 and based in San Francisco, CA, the INS educates and promotes the field through meetings, its peer-reviewed journal Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, explanatory content, and chapter websites.
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