CEC's Dr. Doyle is leading the way: "CyborgRx: How Smart Implants Could Change Medicine"

Date: 
Thu, 2015-02-26 (All day)

"The cyborgs are coming ... and that's a good thing. A new breed of smart devices designed to be implanted in the brain, heart and other body parts could be used to treat everything from epilepsy to Parkinson's disease.

They're already helping people like Chelsey Loeb. The 26-year-old can't feel the responsive neurostimulator (RNS System for short) firing electrical pulses into her brain. It's about the size of an iPod Nano and is constantly monitoring electrical activity from under her skull, looking for signs of a seizure so it can send out a targeted pulse to cut one off before it begins.

Designed by Silicon Valley-based NeuroPace, the RNS System is on the frontier of this new technology. But there are hopes that devices implanted under the skin could one day do things like automatically regulate glucose levels in diabetics or tell someone when their knee is about to give out.

Right now, smart implants are giving hope to epilepsy patients like Loeb. Across the nation, 128 of them have been installed since the FDA approved the device in 2013. Clinical trials showed a 38 percent drop in the average number of seizures per month. So far, it's working for Loeb.

Trying to beat epilepsy

She first noticed the seizures in the summer, when she was only 15 years old. It wasn't immediately clear what was happening to her.

"It almost felt like I was dreaming, like I was having a dream in the middle of the day," Loeb told NBC News.

With school looming, she finally told her parents about the strange sensations she was having. The doctor told her she suffered from intractable epilepsy. At first, it got better with medication. The seizures stopped for a year and a half, and she was able to do things that typical 18-year-olds do, like drive a car and go off to college."

 

Exerpt taken from NBCNews article, "CyborgRx: How Smart Implants Could Change Medicine". For full article click here. 

Read the full NY Daily News article here.