The Smart Magazine About Medical Technology Innovations

#24 - Innovations With Teeth

An Implant Helps Parkinson’s Patients Control Symptoms

Parkinson's and essential tremor cause uncontrollable shaking (Courtesy of Medscape)

The new Infinity Deep Brain Stimulation System (DBS) from global medical device company St. Jude Medical was approved in early October by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. According to the firm’s website, this new device will not cure Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor, but can help reduce some of the symptoms.

The system consists of three elements: a small implantable pulse generator (IPG), a directional lead that links the IPG to a specific area of the brain, and software that allows the patient to control the system via a mobile phone.

The IPG sends stimulation impulses to targeted brain regions through the lead. This blocks brain signals causing involuntary tremor and reduces movement disorder symptoms. The software uses a wireless iOS mobile platform that allows patients to adjust settings within limits set by their doctor.

The IPG is implanted in the chest cavity. The software can be upgraded as new technologies become available without additional surgery. However, St. Jude Medical specifies that the system is not for everyone and presents risks associated with brain surgery.


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About the Author

Celia Sampol has been a journalist for 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national media (Agence France Presse, Liberation). She's the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine.

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