Medtronic Aims To Take Deep Brain Stimulation to New Level Through Sensing Technology

Posted in Implantable Devices by Arundhati Parmar on December 5, 2013

A new deep brain stimulation therapy being developed by Medtronic may provide unprecendented insight into the brain of patients with neurological disorders.

Back in 2010, MIT’s Technology Review magazine named Medtronic to its first-ever list of 50 innovative companies for its efforts in developing deep brain stimulation to target neurological disorders.

The company may be hoping to get similar recognition if it can prove the safety and effectiveness of a new DBS therapy.

On Thursday, the Minnesota device maker announced that it was testing a novel deep brain stimulation system which is able to tell how the patient’s brain is responding to the DBS therapy while the therapy is being administered.

According to a company news release, the Activa® PC+S DBS system delivers DBS therapy “while simultaneously sensing and recording electrical signals in key areas of the brain, using sensing technology and an adjustable stimulation algorithm.”

That level of insight has apparently never been available before.

“While DBS therapy is widely proven to treat symptoms of advanced Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders, the ability to collect and analyze data demonstrating how the brain responds to this therapy was not possible until now," said Philip Starr, a neurosurgeon and professor of neurological surgery and surgical director of UCSF's Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence.

Along with two U.S. patients, two patient in Germany have been treated with the new DBS system. Medtronic said only a few select physicians would have access to this device for research purposes.

“The ability to sense brain signals while delivering Medtronic DBS therapy brings us closer to the opportunity for a closed-loop DBS system, which has the potential to provide truly personalized therapy for patients," said Tim Denison, Ph.D., engineering director at Medtronic, in a news release.

Medtronic’s and indeed the world’s first DBS therapy was approved overseas in 1995 with FDA’s green light coming two years later.


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