International Congress to Highlight Ways Neuromodulation Transforms Medical Treatment
Three Days of Presentations by World Experts Will Feature Emerging Techniques, Expanding Treatments, and Improved Function
Newswise — MONTREAL – The 12th World Congress of the International Neuromodulation Society will present landmark studies about neurostimulation therapy and investigations of potential breakthroughs during its main scientific program June 8 – 11 in Montreal.
More than 350 scientific abstract presentations, plenary lectures, and scientific sessions showcase the depth and breadth of neuromodulation research around the world. Presentations at the meeting will cover technologies and knowledge to advance treatment of challenging conditions:
• State-of-the-art experience in tetraplegia with brain-computer interfaces
• A demonstration of novel, nano-sized therapeutic devices (with carbon nanofibers and wireless connectivity)
• Recent randomized, controlled clinical trial results that compare new and conventional spinal cord stimulation modes (tonic, burst and high frequency)
• Clinical experience with an emerging, minimally invasive target for chronic pain – the tibial nerve
• Insights into improvements in rehabilitation from stroke using neuromodulation, and neuromodulation for other cardiovascular conditions
• The latest research into neurostimulation for medication-resistant epilepsy, and difficult-to-treat dystonias
• Neurostimulation for overactive bladder or other pelvic pain or motility disorders
• Mobile and biometric applications, such as wearables to quantify and optimize movement disorder treatment that addresses problems common to all Parkinson’s disease patients (bradykinesia)
• Evidence of spinal cord stimulation cost-effectiveness, and impact on improved function, including open-source patient registries created at leading universities in the U.S. and Europe
• A growing wiki that has already extracted data from more than 4,000 neuromodulation citations
Overall, the congress draws more than 1,500 scientists, clinicians, engineers and industry innovators. Presentations offer a multidisciplinary view of neuromodulation, a rapidly evolving therapy that modulates nervous system activity to improve function and quality of life for patients living with chronic conditions.
Neuromodulation devices have been approved by every major health economy, and are implanted in tens of thousands of patients annually.
“We think of neuromodulation as a new paradigm,” said congress chair Timothy Deer, MD, president-elect of the International Neuromodulation Society (INS). “It transforms medical treatment by helping to normalize the activity of neural circuits. The general public is becoming more aware of neuromodulation therapies, and providers appreciate the chance to offer an intervention that goes beyond medication alone. There are times that medication is ineffective, intolerable due to side effects, or inadvisable due to complications.
"As a pain specialist, I also appreciate that patients who respond to these treatments can function better for months or years without necessarily risking the drawbacks posed by a heavy reliance on opioid medication.”
Scientific abstracts submitted to the congress reflect the widening promise of neuromodulation therapy. Existing or potential medical indications represented in the 360 abstracts include:
• Pain management for multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, amputation, recent back surgery, Lyme disease, leprosy, sickle-cell disease, stroke, and other causes
• Gastrointestinal or voiding problems
• Pain-related sleep issues
• Neurological problems such as tinnitus, Tourette syndrome, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, restless leg syndrome, treatment-resistant depression, or obsessive compulsive disorder, and the potential effect of personality traits on outcomes
• Debilitating headache, visceral pain, or back pain (including post-cancer pain)
• Issues of limitation in mobility, such as paralysis or bedsore management
• Dystonia or spasticity due to traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, or other causes
Discussion of functional outcomes include case series or reports of neuromodulation used in childhood dystonia, expectant mothers, and adults in the prime of life who sought, and were able, to return to near-peak performance in demanding work travel or a competitive racquetball hobby.
Sidebar: Neuromodulation Therapy TodayNeuromodulation therapy influences, or modulates, the central, peripheral or autonomic nervous system by targeting stimulation to specific areas of the body. Often, the stimulation consists of mild electrical impulses supplied by a device similar to a cochlear implant or heart pacemaker. Another type of neuromodulation device delivers micro-doses of an anti-spasm agent or other medication through a catheter.
Neurostimulation devices in common use in the last four decades include spinal cord stimulators, primarily used to lessen chronic pain in selected patients; deep brain stimulation systems to manage motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and other movement disorders; and sacral nerve stimulators that address voiding disorders or chronic pain.
In addition to these implantable neurostimulation devices, implantable or external vagus nerve stimulators may offer adjunctive relief in refractory epilepsy, depression, incapacitating headache, and other conditions. Externally applied stimulation includes transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). TMS may treat medication-resistant depression, and is being studied for chronic pain or stroke rehabilitation. TDCS is of interest for potential effects on physical rehabilitation or learning, mood and alertness.
Minimally invasive, wirelessly charged devices are also under development to stimulate newer targets in the peripheral nervous system to address pain, balance, obstructive sleep apnea, or other issues. For instance, emerging small devices are being implanted on the limbs (including post-amputation) or near the tongue or jaw. Possible future brain stimulation approaches are being identified, meanwhile, through neuroscience studies in brain imaging and neural circuit function.
Developments in expanding indications and evolving interventions, such as new waveforms, miniaturized devices, hybrid systems, and advances in intrathecal drug delivery, will all be presented in detail at the INS 12th World Congress.
Members of the news media interested in attending the conference or arranging telephone interviews about these and other topics, please contact INS Public Education and Website Manager Nancy Garcia, firstname.lastname@example.org. Priority media registration for the congress ends May 30, 2015.
To view a preliminary congress program, please visit http://www.neuromodulation.com/12th-world-congress-program.
### About the International Neuromodulation SocietyThe International Neuromodulation Society (INS) is a nonprofit medical society that unites clinicians, scientists and engineers to share scientific knowledge about all aspects of neuromodulation in order to encourage best medical practice. Founded in 1989 and based in San Francisco, CA, the INS presents up-to-date information about the full breadth of neuromodulation therapies through an interactive website at http://www.neuromodulation.com, chapter scientific meetings, the MEDLINE-indexed journal Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, and its biennial world congress.