Parkinson ’s disease patients are often overwhelmed by the multitude of symptoms they experience. And though there isn’t a cure available, patients may better manage symptoms as medical technology advances. A new Parkinson’s disease stimulation implant has received FDA approval and will aid patients better manage their tremors.
Produced by St. Jude Medical, the new device, called the Brio Neurostimulation System acts much like an electric-pulse generator. The tiny, rechargeable Parkinson’s’ disease stimulation implant will provide deep brain stimulation by means of the various electrodes placed in specific brain locations. It is implanted beneath the chest.
Deep brain stimulation devices represent valid alternatives for patients unable to manage their symptoms with medication alone. Parkinson’s disease and its associated symptoms are caused by the degeneration of dopamine-producing brain cells. Medication acts by preventing (or slowing down) the breakdown of dopamine.
According to nationwide statistics, more than 50,000 Americans are presented with the Parkinson’s disease diagnosis yearly. Essential tremor, on the other hand, affects several million Americans. Such patients can benefit greatly from new devices such as the Brio Neurostimulation system.
According to St. Jude Medical, the Parkinson’s disease stimulation implant delivers low-intensity electrical impulses which help manage tremors, walking difficulties and balance.
Food and Drug Administration office evaluation representative, William Maisel notes that despite the lack of a cure for this difficult disease, patients should be offered the best quality of life. Such devices which better manage symptoms are essential for Parkinson’s sufferers.
“This new device adds to the array of treatment options [for Parkinson’s patients]. People living with essential tremor enjoy better, more productive lives.”
Prior to its FDA approval, the Brio Neurostimulation Device underwent two major clinical trials. The first trial investigated 136 Parkinson’s disease patients using the device over a period of three months. The second trial studied the same stimulation device’s effects on 127 patients with essential tremor. In the latter, patients were followed for a period of six months.
Among the two studies’ selection criteria, medication-resistant symptoms were present.
Researchers concluded that both study groups had benefited from the stimulation device, from the moment when the device was turned off.
But placing the device involves a surgical procedure and such procedures come with risks. Patients who chose the implant may develop intracranial bleeding, may suffer strokes, paralysis or death. Additionally, infections and device dislocation may occur.
Image Source: Planet Hospital