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Parkinson's Disease: Brain Implant Now FDA-Approved To Treat Tremors

First Posted: Jun 13, 2015 02:47 PM EDT
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a new treatment for Parkinson's disease, a neurological disorder that progressively attacks the nervous system, affecting the body's ability to properly function. Though there is no cure for Parkinson's disease at this time, the new treatment could help to better manage certain symptoms.

A brain implant from St. Jude Medical Inc. can now help address symptoms of the disease, including the rhythmic shaking that is oftentimes associated with the health issue. Known as the Brio Neurostimulation System, the implantable small generator helps deliver low-level electrical impulses that target certain areas of the brain and is the second brain implant device approved by the FDA.

The device can be implanted under the skin of the upper chest with wires attached to electrodes that connect to the patients brain, helping to stimulate certain areas to lower the rate of symptoms via the battery-powered device.

Clinical trials for the device involved 136 patients with Parkinson's disease and 12 patients with essential tremor. Medications, alone, were helping to reduce associated issues with the disease but still resulting in difficulties walking, balance issues and tremors for those involved. A follow-up period showed significant improvements from those who used the device.

An estimated 50,000 Americans are affected by Parkinson's disease each year, according to the National Institute of Health.

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