FDA has approved St. Jude Medical's Brio Neurostimulation System to help those suffering from Parkinson's and essential tremor and whose symptoms cannot be controlled with medications.
The implantable pulse generator is the size of a pacemaker, positioned near the chest with leads going up to the brain. These are connected to electrodes implanted into the brain tissue, allowing for artificial low energy stimulation of relevant neuronal areas to prevent tremors.
Studies involving Parkinson's patients and those experiencing essential tremor, showed a significant improvement in function in patients who had the Brio turned on and working. While Parkinson's patients still required medication to help control symptoms, most of the essential tremor patients didn't need any meds at all to get their symptoms under control.
So far FDA had approved only Medtronic's Activa implant to treat Parkinson's and essential tremor, so it's good to see more competition coming to this field.
While testing the device, there were setbacks for some patients, including intracranial bleeding, infection, and movement of the leads, but it seems like the underlying technology was not the culprit.