Bioelectronic Medicine: Using Electrical Stimulation to Treat Untreatable Diseases
IDTechEx will be hosting a masterclass on Bioelectronics & Neuroprosthetics at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA
BOSTON, October 17, 2018 (Newswire.com) - Electrical stimulation of the human body is an established method of treating several diseases and conditions. Surgeons have been implanting artificial pacemakers and similar devices that electrically stimulate the heart since the 1960s for the treatment of diseases such as heart block, bradycardia, and heart failure. Since then, devices that electrically stimulate the nervous system have also been developed and commercialized. A key example of such a device is the cochlear implant, which has been used since the 1970s to restore the sense of hearing to patients with severe hearing loss. IDTechEx has previously reported on several bioelectronic devices which can be used to restore human body functions. Please refer to the IDTechEx Research report, Neuroprosthetics 2018 – 2028: Technologies, Forecasts, Players for more information.
The latest development in electrical stimulation of the nervous system (also known as electrical neuromodulation and more recently, bioelectronic medicine) was reported on 24 September 2018. Two groups of researchers in the US working with patients paralyzed due to spinal cord injury reported in Nature Medicine and the New England Journal of Medicine that epidural electrical stimulation in combination with extensive gait training was able to restore the patients’ ability to stand and walk.
Patients who have suffered a complete spinal cord injury lose voluntary control of the muscles below their injury as the nerves that connect the brain to the body have become disconnected at the site of the injury. In these studies, electrical stimulation of the nerves within the spine was shown to restore these broken pathways. With training, patients eventually learned how to use these reconnected pathways to control their muscles, even to the extent that they regained their ability to stand and walk. This is a revolutionary treatment for people who have suffered a spinal cord injury, who currently have little to no hope of regaining function below their injury and rely on medication and physiotherapy to try and decrease the numerous side effects of their injury.
For those who are interesting in learning more about the exciting applications of bioelectronic medicine, IDTechEx will be hosting a masterclass on Bioelectronics & Neuroprosthetics at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, USA on Friday, Nov. 16. IDTechEx analysts will discuss the latest developments in bioelectronic medicine and neuroprosthetics, and how innovative companies are using electrical neuromodulation to treat previously untreatable diseases.