Abbott, Medtronic Driving Deep Brain Stimulation Innovation for Parkinson’s Disease

DBS for Parkinsons

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.

Related New Method of Deep Brain Stimulation Adapts to Patient’s Changing Needs

Abbott’s Infinity™ DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) system with upgraded functionality offers help to Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor patients. Abbott just announced U.S. FDA approval for an over-the-air software upgrade for all currently implanted Infinity DBS systems that delivers magnetic resonance (MR)-conditional labeling and innovative features. This life-changing technology from Abbott helps patients with progressive diseases live better.

What’s Deep Brain Stimulation?

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgery to implant a device called a neurostimulator (sometimes referred to as a ‘brain pacemaker’) that sends electrical signals to brain regions responsible for body movement. Electrodes are placed deep in the brain and are connected to the stimulator device. Similar to a pacemaker, the neurostimulator uses electric pulses to regulate brain activity. DBS can help reduce the symptoms of tremor, stiffness, slowness, and walking problems caused by Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, or essential tremor. Successful DBS allows people to potentially reduce their medications and improve their quality of life.

The Food and Drug Administration approved DBS as a treatment for essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 1997. DBS has been studied in clinical trials as a potential treatment for chronic pain for various affective disorders, including major depression; it is one of only a few neurosurgical methods that allow blinded studies.

DBS for Parkinsons
Image: Deep brain stimulation electrode placement (Image: Wikipedia)

Abbott’s Infinity DBS System

Abbott’s Infinity™ DBS system with directional leads is designed to direct stimulation toward targeted areas of the brain to maximize patient outcomes and limit side effects. The platform’s future-ready technology is built with the ability to significantly upgrade the capabilities and new therapy features of the Infinity DBS system through simple, over-the-air updates.

Abbott’s Infinity DBS system is the world’s first and only DBS system operating on an iOS software platform with Bluetooth® wireless technology. Clinicians can streamline the programming process with an iPad mini device using Abbott’s new Informity™ Programming Software to become more efficient in their practice and achieve optimal outcomes with directional leads. Patients can discreetly manage their symptoms with their Infinity DBS System iPod touch controller, reports Abbott Media Room.

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Medtronic DBS System

A very thin wire called a lead delivers electrical signals from the neurostimulator to the brain.

Your doctor will use a programming device to adjust the settings.

You may have a device, similar to a remote control, which allows you to turn the system on and off and check the battery. You may also be able to adjust the stimulation within options programmed by your doctor.

The system includes an ActivaTM PC, Activa SC, or Activa RC neurostimulator. The neurostimulator delivers stimulation to one side of the brain through one wire to control symptoms of essential tremor. Your doctor will recommend the right Medtronic neurostimulator for your needs.

The neurostimulator stores important data about itself and the programmed settings that have worked for you in the past. This means you don’t need to carry such records if you travel or switch clinics. A doctor can access the information in your neurostimulator with a clinician programmer.

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Sam Draper
Sam Draper () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies specialized in the field of sports and fitness but also passionated about any new lifestyle gadget on the market. Sam can be contacted at press(at)