Electroceuticals: the Shocking Future of Brain Zapping: Could electrical currents replace Big Pharma? – Beenish Ahmed and Eric Elder – Mar 10 2015
It’s all in your head—those icky feelings, all that fog—and chemicals just aren’t that great at cutting through. That’s why scientists are experimenting with changing the brain game by tweaking its circuitry, rather than the chemical processes.
It might be a bit unnerving to us seasoned pill-poppers, but some believe that electrical currents could be the new wave in everything cerebral, from treating depression and addiction to enhancements that would enable those seeking that mental edge to learn new skills faster or remember more.
While pharmaceutical companies rake in nearly $90 billion a year from global sales of mental health meds, psychopharmacology research and development has slowed to a crawl. Continue reading
Potential for ‘electroceutical’ devices to treat illness, alleviate pain – Medical News Today – May 2014
A Stanford electrical engineer has invented a way to wirelessly transfer power deep inside the body, and then use this power to run tiny electronic medical devices such as pacemakers, nerve stimulators, or new sensors and gadgets yet to be developed.
The discoveries reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) culminate years of efforts by Ada Poon, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, to eliminate the bulky batteries and clumsy recharging systems that prevent medical devices from being more widely used.
“We need to make these devices as small as possible to more easily implant them deep in the body and create new ways to treat illness and alleviate pain,” said Poon.
This is what Silicon Valley is good for. Once the specifications are set, some company will build a miniature implantable device. Continue reading
The shock tactics set to shake up immunology: Nature News & Comment – May 2017 – Douglas Fox
An experimental procedure is exposing the links between the nervous and immune systems. Could it be the start of a revolution?
Six times a day, Katrin pauses whatever she’s doing, removes a small magnet from her pocket and touches it to a raised patch of skin just below her collarbone. For 60 seconds, she feels a soft vibration in her throat. Her voice quavers if she talks. Then, the sensation subsides.
The magnet switches on an implanted device that emits a series of electrical pulses — each about a milliamp, similar to the current drawn by a typical hearing aid. Continue reading
These New Devices Promise to Fight Pain without Opioids – MIT Technology Review
While drug developers are trying to discover new nonaddictive medicine to treat pain, medical device manufacturers are racing to develop smaller, more comfortable implants as well as external devices that don’t require surgery.
The idea has been around since the 1960s, but in recent years the technology has undergone rapid innovation.
Michael Leong, a pain specialist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, says the benefit of these devices is that when patients use them, they’re able to take fewer drugs or no painkillers at all. That’s appealing to both doctors and patients. Continue reading
Recall of Zimmer Biomet’s Spinal Fusion Stimulators – May 31, 2017
Just when I thought electric stimulation could not possibly be damaging:
Zimmer Biomet has recalled the SpF PLUS-Mini and SpF XL IIb Implantable Spinal Fusion Stimulators due to higher than allowed levels of potential harmful chemicals,
“which may be toxic to tissues and organs, and that were found during the company’s routine monitoring procedure,” according to a release from the US Food and Drug Administration.
How are “harmful chemicals” released by an electric stimulator? Nowhere in the article are the specific “harmful chemicals” listed. Continue reading
Spinal Cord Stimulation Study Shows High Rate Of Infection – Pain Medicine News – Apr 2017
An analysis of two U.S. payor databases has found a 3.11% infection rate for spinal cord stimulation (SCS) implants, with age, peripheral vascular disease and history of infection identified as risk factors.
According to the study’s authors, when compared with rates of infection for total joint replacement and pacemaker surgeries, the data reflect a need for improvement of infection control practices. A recent international survey on infection control practices for SCS demonstrated low compliance with evidence-based guidelines (Neuromodulation 2016;19:71-84)
Elderly patients were less likely to have infection. For each additional year of age, patients were 3.2% less likely to have an infection.
For both logistic regression and survival analyses, expected risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and smoking were not shown to be risk factors for infection.
“It’s interesting that the SCS infection rate is higher than the 2% rate for pacemakers,” Dr. Eisenach said. “It’s possible that there is a difference related to sterile technique.”
Leading the ‘Neuromodulation Revolution – 12/12/2016 – by Bob Kronemyer
Recent advances in neuromodulation and other innovative technologies have created viable alternatives to opioids for chronic pain, according to experts at a recent panel discussion.
Dr. Slavin said it is a myth that corrective spinal surgery can resolve long-term opioid use.
“In fact, there is plenty of literature that shows that people who
use opioids have pain prior to spine surgery most likely will continue to use opioids have pain after surgery and that chronic opioid use pain significantly worsens surgical outcomes,” he said.
I had to correct the paragraph above because it confuses “using opioids” with “having pain”. This confusion is widespread and confounds all opioids studies these days. Continue reading
Understanding Electromagnetic Treatments – Practical Pain Management | November 30, 2011
With so much emphasis on using alternative medicine instead of opioids, this is a treatment without chemical side effects that holds some promise, at least for the few who
- have the kind of pain these treatments can relieve.
- have insurance that covers a sufficient number of treatments and who
Below is a thorough article by Dr. Forest Tennant, explaining how electricity flows through our bodies and how electromagnetic treatments affect it.
His theory is that pain causes electricity to pool instead of flowing freely, thus initiating a cycle of increasing tissue damage, pain, and impairment. This is a long and detailed explanation of electromagnetic forces and how they relate to pain from damaged nerves:
“A fundamental to understanding electromagnetic measures is the pooling of electric charges around damaged nerves.”
Scrambler Therapy Found Promising in Pilot Study – Pain Medicine News – Aug 2016
Various forms of neuropathic pain were significantly reduced by applying scrambler therapy, according to the results of a pilot study presented at the 2016 annual scientific meeting of the American Pain Society.
“With my years of experience in pain management, I realize there is no magic bullet,” said principal investigator Ricardo Cruciani, MD, PhD, professor and chair in the Department of Neurology
Scrambler therapy (also known as Calmare Pain Therapy Treatment [Calmare Therapeutics]) is noninvasive, using electrostimulation to block the transmission of pain signals to nerve fibers. Continue reading
Advances in Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation – Nov 2011
Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is the use of low-level microcurrent applied through the head to the brain for medical and psychiatric/psychological purposes.
Although CES is primarily used for the management of anxiety, insomnia, and depression, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that it will play a role in pain management over the coming decades.
Indeed, in a recent report from the office of the army surgeon general, CES was included as a complementary and alternative (CAM) tier II modality. Continue reading