Introduction and history of spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain
In 1959, the neurosurgeon Willem Noordenbos reported that a signal carried along large diameter fibers for “touch, pressure or vibration” may inhibit the signal carried by the thinner “pain” fibers. Continue reading
Many people with osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases, including posttraumatic pain and rheumatoid arthritis, suffer from chronic hip pain.
Although total hip arthroplasty (THA) is often performed in patients with advanced disease, the procedure is associated with:
- 5% to 15% failure rate,
- high cost, and
- increased morbidity, mortality, and
- persistent postoperative pain
Specially Timed Signals Ease Tinnitus Symptoms in First Test Aimed at the Condition’s Root Cause – Dec 2017 – Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan
This isn’t pain-related, but I know many of us suffer from tinnitus too. I also found it interesting because it shows the potential of various neurostimulation treatments that target brain activity.
Millions of Americans hear ringing in their ears — a condition called tinnitus — but a new study shows an experimental device could help quiet the phantom sounds by targeting unruly nerve activity in the brain.
In a new paper in Science Translational Medicine, a team from the University of Michigan reports the results of the first animal tests and clinical trial of the approach, including data from 20 human tinnitus patients. Continue reading
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.
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
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
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 opioidshave pain prior to spine surgery most likely will continue to use opioidshave pain after surgery and that chronic opioid usepain 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