No assignee for patent application serial number 843381 has been made.
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Since the introduction of the heart rhythm control system--first as an implantable pacemaker in the 1960's, and then as an implantable defibrillator in 1980, implantable electrical stimulating devices have been developed to treat various medical diseases and physiological ailments, such as chronic pain disorders (e.g., nerve injury, failed back syndrome, intractable facial pain, failed neck syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, thoracic outlet syndrome, and cancer), neurological disorders (e.g., intractable epilepsy and Parkinson's disease), motor disorders (e.g., spasticity, dystonia, spasmodic torticollis, athetosis, head injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy), cardiac rhythm disorders (e.g., tachycardia and bradycardia), and psychosomatic disorders (e.g. depression and eating disorders).
"Some of these implantable devices are currently being marketed. For example, implantable spinal cord stimulators are currently being used in patients to relieve pain in various parts of the body, e.g., chronic back and leg pain, cancer pain, postoperative spinal cord injury pain, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy pain. The implantation process involves placing leads in the epidural space of the spinal canal in a location that corresponds to the patient's zone of pain. A pulse generator is then implanted in the lower anterior abdominal wall and then connected to electrodes on the leads via an extension that is percutaneously routed from the pulse generator to the leads. Once the system is fully implanted, the pulse generator can then be operated to provide low-voltage electrical stimulation of the spinal cord via the leads.
"Another means for managing pain involves implanting micro-current electrical neuromuscular stimulators (MENS) within a patient in the area of the perceived pain. These devices use a very low current (typically 1-100 .mu.A) and operate on a cellular level to speed the healing process, thereby reducing pain. These devices have been specifically used to treat arthritic conditions, sports injuries, low back pain, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, migraines and other disorders.
"A stimulation system similar to the spinal cord stimulator described above is currently being used to treat Parkinson's Disease. In this application, a lead is surgically implanted into the patient's brain adjacent the subthalamic nucleus (STN) or globus pallidus internal (GPi), which control the involuntary movement symptomatic of Parkinson's Disease. A pulse generator is implanted in the patient's chest near the collarbone, and then connected to electrodes on the lead via an extension that percutaneously runs from the pulse generator to the lead. The pulse generator can then be operated to electrically stimulate the effected regions of the brain in order to block the signals that cause the disabling motor symptoms.
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