The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June approved the Brio Neurostimulation System, an implantable deep brain stimulation device to help reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor, a neurological disorder that causes rhythmic shaking.
The device, manufactured by St. Jude Medical in St. Paul, Minnesota, consists of a small, battery-powered, rechargeable electrical pulse generator implanted under the skin of the upper chest. Wire leads run to electrodes placed within the brain at specific locations. The generator delivers low-intensity electrical pulses to target areas of the brain. It can help patients when medication alone is unable to provide adequate relief from symptoms such as walking difficulties, balance problems and tremors. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. The cause of the latter is currently unknown but the condition leads to involuntary shaking, typically in the hands, that is similar to that caused by Parkinson’s disease.