Many neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, chronic depression and other psychiatric disorders could be managed at home, thanks to a collaborative project involving researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ).
Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) Professor Peter Silburn AM said his team, in collaboration with Neurosciences Queensland and Abbott Neuromodulation, has developed a remote care platform that allows patients to access treatment from anywhere in the world.
“By creating the world’s first integrated, completely wireless remote care platform, we’ve removed the need for patients to see their doctor in person to have their device adjusted,” said Professor Silburn.
Electrodes are surgically inserted into the brain and electrical stimulation is delivered by a pacemaker that alters brain function, providing therapeutic relief and improving quality of life.
This digital platform allows clinicians to monitor patients remotely, as well as adjust the device to treat and relieve symptoms in real time.
“We have shown that it is possible to minimize disruption to the lifestyle of patients and carers by increasing accessibility to the service, saving time and money,” said Professor Silburn.
“There is no cure for many of these conditions which often require lifelong treatment and care, so for these people the device would be a game changer.”
He said the system is also supporting increasingly personalized treatment and data-driven clinical decisions, which could improve patient care.
“During the study, we established the safety, security, usability and effectiveness of the platform and optimized its functionality using patient feedback in a biodesign process,” said Professor Silburn. .
“In the first few weeks of a limited release, we conducted 858 remote care sessions and maintained a robust and high success rate.”
While the team started working on this digital health solution before COVID-19, the pandemic has increased the need for remote care platforms, especially for the elderly and those living in remote areas with increased mobility difficulties.
“During the pandemic, patients have become familiar with telemedicine and are much more willing to adapt to platforms that connect them remotely to their care teams,” said Professor Silburn.
The researchers are confident that the technology could be adapted to many other conditions in the future.
“As we discover more about biomarkers of brain-related disorders, we will refine neuromodulation systems to improve the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia and down syndrome. of Tourette, to name a few,” Professor Silburn said. .
The digital health platform for remote neuromodulation systems received regulatory approval and launched in Australia in October 2021.
It has also been adopted in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration Service and the European CE mark.
Professor Silburn and Director of the QBI Professor Pankaj Sah and Associate Professor Terry Coyne will be presenting at a series of information sessions for patients and carers living with Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, essential tremor and Tourette’s syndrome in the Queensland region in the coming months.
The first information sessions take place in Toowoomba on April 29 and 30. Register here.
This research was published in Nature Science Reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-06098-7)