Bioelectronic Medicine Essay

1485 Words 6 Pages
The healthcare industry’s perennial reliance on pharmaceuticals, from giants like Roche or Pfizer, while bolstering the quality of life for well-developed nations, often overshadows upcoming advances or developments in therapeutic treatment. A rather niche approach, bioelectronic medicine, is particularly attractive to the field of biomedical engineering, relying less on biochemistry than an integration of device and neurology. Georgina Casey, nursing lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, writes that bioelectronic medicine is an internal or external therapy that targets a particular area of the body and disrupts action potentials through electrical impulses, affecting nerve function. This has elicited numerous novel treatments, notably …show more content…
Dr. David Taylor of the Royal Society of Chemistry describes this evolution through stages. Initially, knowledge of herbalism from the Chinese and Greeks laid the foundation for the growth of empirical knowledge in Europe and the Middle East. However, it wasn’t until the 1800s that pharmacology was founded when European scientists began to study the active ingredients in substances. This, coupled with organic chemistry (which began with the production of urea), really pushed the science towards its present form. Soon, companies like Bayer, Pfizer, and Roche turned towards research and the creation of large-scale manufacturing of drugs, which was only more propelled by the government’s desire to treat certain conditions widespread in the population and to alleviate the injuries of the world wars. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the problem of thalidomide and adverse side effects that modern regulations and limits to production were placed [4]. Contrarily, the rise of bioelectronic medicine represents more immediate innovation than pharmaceuticals, relying on technology still considered novel in the …show more content…
Fox and Mohammad Ali and lack of a cure thereof. Afflicting the basal ganglia of the brain, its well-known symptoms include tremor and loss of motor control [1]. Since no cure exists, patients with PD rely primarily on symptom relief. Groiss et al. describe in great detail the purpose and effectiveness of DBS in relation to L-DOPA. L-DOPA, the most common drug used to treat PD, can feasibly counteract the primary indicators of the disease, including akinesia, rigidity, tremor, and postural instability. However, L-DOPA is known to induce dyskinesias and decline in effectiveness over time. [6]. Such is the reason that DBS may in fact be better for symptom suppression. DBS is applied to the patient through invasive surgery into the basal ganglia, where electrodes are positioned inside the subthalamic nucleus (STN). These electrodes are wired to a pulse generator inside the thoracic cavity. STN DBS has effectively been proven to subvert the complications that arise through long-term L-DOPA dependence, but its included risks and specific requirements for candidacy do not qualify for its widespread use. Obtaining DBS involves heavy consultation and particular patient selection. It as a form of treatment is restricted to idiopathic PD, and the surgery is performed on individuals in advanced stages. While

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