UF Health first in the nation to implant a newly FDA approved device in a patient’s brain

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 11:47 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - UF Health is the first in the nation to implant a newly FDA approved device in a patient’s brain.

The advanced brain stimulation system is implanted to help treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. The device works like a pacemaker by producing an electrical current, but instead of being attached to the heart the small wires are attached to targeted portions of the patient’s brain. The electrical pulses help control tremors and abnormal muscle contractions.

“Our research team is heavily invested in brain sensing technology,” said Foote, co-director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health. “We believe DBS systems capable of adjusting therapeutic stimulation in response to continuously recorded signals from the brain may result in better DBS outcomes with fewer adverse effects. Adding a directional lead to such a system will improve our ability to localize abnormal signals and enable us to steer current more effectively to areas in the brain where it is most beneficial.”

The device also allows doctors to monitor brain signals to optimize device settings. After undergoing DBS surgery, patients are typically seen in clinic monthly for a six-month optimization phase to adjust and fine-tune stimulation settings for the most benefit.

“Optimization is achieving the best control of symptoms with minimal to no side effects from the stimulation,” said Leonardo Almeida, M.D., an assistant professor in UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology. “We hope this new system will help us get there faster and find the settings that yield the best results.”

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