Researchers developing alternative treatment for essential tremor
Essential tremor is a neurological disorder that causes rhythmic shaking, and currently, deep brain stimulation is an FDA-approved method for treating people with essential tremor. Now researchers from the UW are working with the Activa PC+S Deep Brain Stimulation system for an alternate treatment.
The device, developed by Medtronic, is not FDA approved to treat essential tremor, but the goal is to be able to control when and how much stimulation patients receive. The UW department of electrical engineering, department of neurological surgery, and department of philosophy have collaborated in this effort.
With this new device, the premise is that the electrical signals are used to control the stimulator and it meshes well with brain-computer interfaces (BCI). BCI are direct communication channels between the brain and external hardware.
The lab at the UW is currently focusing on essential tremor, but with deep brain stimulation is branching out as a whole. The place where you implant the electrode changes based on the treatment for the disease. Neurosurgeons are investigating how to treat other types of disorders. Beyond essential tremor, there are researchers working on Tourette syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression with this device.