Deep brain stimulation has been used for decades to relieve the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and is experiencing a new breakthrough. Researchers have just developed a self-adaptive brain implant capable of providing finer and therefore more efficient electrical impulses.
Developed in the early 1990s by a team of French researchers, deep brain stimulation has aided many Parkinson’s patients for 25 years. Proposed when drug treatments no longer make it possible to control the disease’s motor symptoms, the method consists of surgically implanting very fine electrodes in the deep brain, in order to emit electrical impulses that correct the cerebral consequences of the lack of dopamine.
A brain implant developed by engineers from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, in the United States, might be useful for patients who are not well-tolerating deep brain stimulation.
Parkinson’s disease might be reduced with a self-adaptive brain implant
In a short-term clinical study, two people suffering from Parkinson’s disease got this new deep brain stimulation device, fully implanted and adapted to their primary motor cortex.
This device is different from the traditionally used electrodes involved in classic deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease patients because it is able to monitor and modulate brain activity, at the same time, refining its signals output.
The brain implant sends signals that are examined by a computer chip installed within the device. Then, the gadget determines whether or not to stimulate the brain.
The great upgrade of this device in comparison to the classic deep brain stimulation is that this new device can recognize a pattern of brain activity and can act accordingly to offer the best stimulation, suited for each Parkinson’s disease patient in part.
Initial results show that the self-adaptive brain implant is as effective as traditional deep brain stimulation in controlling Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Even more important, the system is also energy-effective and can be used for longer periods of time.