Researchers develop device to treat epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease

Scientists have developed a wireless neuro-stimulator that could provide fine-tuned treatments to patients with neurological disorders like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

According to a study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering Journal, the closed-loop device can simultaneously listen to and stimulate electric currents in the brain.

The device, called wireless and artefact-free neuromodulation device (WAND),  is said to work like a “pacemaker for the brain’’ by automatically monitoring the brain’s electrical activity and delivering electrical stimulation if it detects something going awry.

With the ability to stimulate and record simultaneously, WAND can prevent unwanted movements of brain current by adjusting—in real time—the stimulation parameters on its own if it detects signs of tremor or seizure.

WAND outperforms previous similar devices that are effective in preventing debilitating tremors or seizures in patients with various neurological conditions.

“The process of finding the right therapy for a patient is extremely costly and can take years,’’ said Rikky Muller, assistant professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley.

WAND beats other closed-loop systems as it is capable of recording electrical activity over 128 channels, or from 128 points in the brain.

Muller added that he and his team have plans to incorporate learning into their closed-loop platform to build intelligent devices in the future.