What is it?
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a rapidly expanding area of research and clinical practice. DBS is the implantation of a device that signals areas responsible for body movement in the brain. Innovative treatments in this area are now less-invasive and can also include medical devices such as helmets and electrode patches.
Clinical interventions using brain stimulation are an alternative or a complement to pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. DBS helps in reducing the symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, other neurodegenerative diseases, and behavioral and mental health disorders. This therapy is generally recommended to patients who do not respond to medicines for at least five years.
Currently, there are 3 main devices for Parkinson’s:
- Abbott’s Infinity, involves directional stimulation and can be monitored remotely through Apple iOS devices, where patients can communicate with their physician and make adjustments
- Medtronic’s Activa and Percept, which can sense and record brain signals and inform clinicians for more precise care
- Boston Scientific’s Vercise, which also uses directional stimulation, and can allow for clinicians to model brain activity
Other emerging devices include Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation which entails the utilization of a helmet to improve accuracy, cover a wider area of the brain, and penetrate more deeply through brain tissue to impact the neural activity of specific brain structures associated with depression symptoms.