What is Neuromodulation?
The International Neuromodulation Society (INS) defines therapeutic neuromodulation as “the alteration of nerve activity through targeted delivery of a stimulus, such as electrical stimulation or chemical agents, to specific neurological sites in the body.” (1) In appropriate patients, this growing class of therapies, in common use since the 1980s, can help restore function or relieve symptoms that have a neurological basis.
External neuromodulation medical devices by Walnut Medical:
- Walnut Medical Repose Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) to treat insomnia/anxiety/ mild depression
- Mind Acquity TDCS (Direct Current Stimulation) for accelerating neuro-rehabilitation
- Repetitive Trans-cranial Magnetic Stimulation (RTMS) for neuro-rehabilitation and neuro-psychiatry
How Neuromodulation Therapy Exerts Its Effects
Neuromodulation devices stimulate nerves – can be with pharmaceutical agents and also with electrical signals, or other forms of energy – by modulating abnormal neural pathway behavior caused by the disease process. Profound effects occur including relief of pain, restoration of function or normal bowel and bladder control, Parkinson’s and tremor control and many more. (2)
The reversible therapy delivers stimulation to specific neural circuits in the brain, spine, or peripheral nerves. Depending on the target, the therapy may be non-invasive or minimally invasive.
Whether the devices are implanted or external, neuromodulation therapies can help reestablish neural balance, similar to the way a cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator corrects heartbeat abnormalities.
When Neuromodulation is Considered
Neuromodulation therapy may be considered for select patients, through a multidisciplinary assessment, either as an adjunct to other care, or when symptoms do not adequately respond to more conservative measures, for instance, when existing drugs are ineffective or become problematic for long-term use due to development of tolerance, addiction, adverse side-effects or toxicity.
Walnut Medical to introduce Implanted Neuromodulation Devices in 2021
Neuromodulation therapy continues to undergo refinement and research elucidating its effects and applications. Electrical neurostimulation implants are believed to activate natural biological responses, such as nerve transmission and release of the body’s own pain-reducing substances, in the neural circuits receiving stimulation.
Central to the operation of electrical-stimulation implants are thin insulated leads, placed beneath the skin, that are tipped by electrical contacts. The contacts, no bigger than a grain of rice, are positioned beside the nerve or nerves that influence the condition being treated. Pulses of mild electrical current are sent down the leads to the nerves.