Deep Brain Stimulation Improves with the Latest Technology

November 26, 2008
Keli Rising

Although deep brain stimulation (DBS) is typically used as a last resort treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease (and other neurological and psychiatric disorders), it is important that technology and research companies remain up to date on recent developments to make it easier to treat patients with these diseases.

Although deep brain stimulation (DBS) is typically used as a last resort treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease (and other neurological and psychiatric disorders), it is important that technology and research companies remain up to date on recent developments to make it easier to treat patients with these diseases.

Professor Maximilian Mehdorn, head of neurosurgery, Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Germany, has said that patients and physicians are presented with several challenges upon deciding to use DBS as part of the treatment plan, specifically mentioning:

1. Implantation requires an arduous surgical procedure

2. Setting the right stimulation parameters initially is difficult

3. Long-term side effects like spine problems may occur, requiring MRI scanning, but the materials used to make DBS electrodes and stimulators do not allow for MRI scans

Last week, NeuroNexus Technologies and Philips Research announced their partnership “to develop next-generation deep brain stimulation devices with the ambition to improve the treatment of neurological diseases and psychiatric disorders." These companies are aiming “to show the technical feasibility of highly programmable and MRI-safe deep brain stimulation devices.” The initial plan is to come up with an effective device to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Philips and NeuroNexus intend to improve these problems by using the expertise of Philips in medical imaging and surgery planning to simplify the implantation and shorten the surgical procedure, and will “contribute to making the entire device MRI compatible” so patients can have MRI scans if necessary. NeuroNexus will provide “key technology and knowledge for novel brain probes” using its “world-leading track record in neural micro-electrodes.”

Daryl Kipke, CEO of NeuroNexus Technologies, said that by using NeuroNexus’ “micro-scale implantable electrode technology and Philips Research’s integration expertise, we are well positioned to make a significant leap forward in delivering technologists that will support neurologists and neurosurgeons in improving patient treatment.” Whereas Philips, according to Henk van Houten, senior vice president of Philips Research and head of its Healthcare Research program, is hoping that working to develop MRI-compatible DBS devices could enable them “to combine DBS technology with our functional imaging, image-guided intervention and therapy planning capabilities to produce integrated treatment suites for neurodegenerative disease.”

Related Stories on HCPLive:

Brain Pacemakers Identified for Parkinson’s Patients

Brain Pacemaker Treats Depression

Additional Articles:

Deep Brain Stimulation Halts Cell Loss, Parkinson’s Researchers Find

Deep Brain Stimulation in Hypothalamus Triggers ‘Déjà Vu’ Memory Recall in Patient

New Deep Brain Stimulation Sensor Measures Chemical Levels in the Brain