Berne: Tiny, ultra-flexible electrodes could be the answer to more successful treatment of Parkinson`s, which afflicts an estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide.
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), currently the standard practice in treating this condition, can involve long, expensive surgeries with dramatic side-effects.
Its most common symptoms are tremors, stiff and aching muscles, slow limited movement, weakness of face and throat muscles and difficulty with walking.
Philippe Renaud, professor from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) Switzerland, reports on soft arrays of miniature electrodes developed in his Microsystems Lab that open new possibilities for more accurate and local DBS.
"Although Deep Brain Stimulation has been used for the past two decades, we see little progress in its clinical outcomes," Renaud says, according to an EPFL statement.
"Microelectrodes have the potential to open new therapeutic routes, with more efficiency and fewer side-effects through a much better and finer control of electrical activation zones," added Renaud.
The preliminary clinical trials bearing on this research are being done in conjunction with EPFL spin-off company Aleva Neurotherapeutics, the first in the world to introduce microelectrodes in DBS leading to more precise directional stimulation.
These findings were presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston.