Neurological disorders are undoubtedly the most frightening illness that humans face as these are not entirely comprehended. These ailments primarily affect the brain and the nervous system. Over 600 neurological disorders have been identified to date, and these are diagnosed by multiple tests. These neurological disorders include neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral nerve diseases (neuropathy), schizophrenia, spine disorders, and stroke. Balloon angioplasty, needle biopsies, radiation oncology, and surgical procedures are standard therapeutic approaches employed to treat these disorders. In addition to these treatment options, several novel approaches have now been introduced to improve the patient’s quality of life. Some of the recent advancements in the treatment approaches (Innovative Treatment Approach in Neurology) to neurological disorders are as follows:
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Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a minimally invasive neurosurgical procedure that uses electrical impulses to control abnormal brain activity. This procedure involves the use of electrodes or leads that are implanted in some regions of the brain. The electrical stimulation generated by these leads is controlled by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in the upper chest. This therapeutic approach treats dystonia, epilepsy, essential tremor, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Parkinson’s disease. It is recommended only when medications fail to keep the symptoms in check. The brain stimulation itself can cause side effects. DBS therapy is generally used with caution. The stimulation can give rise to speech problems, balance problems, double vision, and numbing or tingling sensations over time. This therapy is currently being studied as a potential treatment option for addiction, chronic pain, dementia, depression, Tourette syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury.
Read about Neurological Disorders
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- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
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- Cervical Disc Replacement
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Transient Ischemic Attack
Transcranial electromagnetic therapy
Innovative Treatment Approach in Neurology- Transcranial electromagnetic therapy is yet another type of brain stimulation therapy approved in the past decade for the treatment of depression. This noninvasive approach employs repetitive electromagnetic impulses to stimulate nerve cells and increase brain activity. Studies have shown that these waves can strengthen neural connections and restore the cognitive abilities, attention, and memory of the patient. This approach has been approved by the FDA in the United States. It is considered a therapeutic option for other neurological disorders. At present, several researchers are exploiting the efficacy of this therapy in treating mental health conditions like nicotine addiction, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke rehabilitation, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), among others. It is often recommended in patients who do not benefit despite using antidepressants. The biggest catch of this therapy is that it is a safe procedure and rarely produces adverse effects.
RNA interference (RNAi) technology is a novel therapeutic modality that uses double-stranded small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to treat neurological disorders. This technology involves fighting the diseases at the cellular level and preventing the death of the nerve cells. It is an upcoming treatment option currently being studied for its effectiveness in many neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, migraine, and prion disease. The basic principle behind this therapy is targeting the causative genetic mutation followed by its selective knockdown. The preclinical studies conducted using this technique have shown promising results. Still, the delivery of these siRNAs remains a vital issue that needs to be addressed. The exact pathway followed by these small molecules and their function are the critical areas of interest in this novel approach. With further research, this approach could lead to a breakthrough in treating neurological disorders that have hampered the lives of millions of individuals across the globe.
Responsive neurostimulation therapy is a novel approach in which a neurostimulator is implanted in the brain to stimulate the targeted brain areas. This neurostimulator is connected to small leads or electrodes located in different regions of the brain. These electrodes sense the abnormal electrical activity of the brain and deliver therapeutic stimulation as soon as it detects the precursor signals to potentially halt seizures. This therapeutic model was approved by the FDA in 2013 for the treatment of medically refractory epilepsy. This surgical intervention, together with antiepileptic medications, has shown better control over seizures. To further understand this therapy, numerous studies are being carried out to assess its long–term safety and effectiveness in a diverse group of patients.
The advancements in technology in the past decade have led to robots to assist in the functional recovery of acute and chronic stroke patients. Robot–aided therapies have been of great help in neurorehabilitation as they produce accurate and reproducible repetitions of physical exercises. These are being tested for their effectiveness in improving the upper limb movement following stroke. A well–established robotic aid that has been of immense use to patients recovering from spinal cord injury is Hunova. This robotic device was launched in 2017 by Movendo Technology and is equipped with a seat and a platform to improve postural stability. Neurorehabilitation with hunova is an innovative therapeutic opportunity. It improves balance, walking speed, and trunk control in individuals suffering from neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease. Despite having vast potential, robotic devices are not widely used. They are pretty expensive and available in limited numbers in the market.
Innovative Treatment Approach in Neurology- Exoskeletal devices are wearable electromechanical devices that have been approved in the US for rehabilitation following stroke and traumatic brain injury. These devices aid in the recovery process by initially performing a set pattern of movements by moving the patient’s body. Following a series of repetitive motions, the device improves the patient’s gait. It assists them in being more active over time. While other robotic devices are connected to the individual at one region only, the exoskeletons are attached to the user via multiple areas of the body. It typically acts as a fully supportive assistive device during the rehabilitation period and helps predict the rehabilitation outcome.
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Neural interfaces are yet another innovative approach used for neurorehabilitation. They mediate the communication between the brain and external devices. This system uses the brain signals detected via electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG) to communicate with the external device or bring about a physical movement. The brain-computer interface (BCI) technique is the most extensively studied neural interface method. This interface is being considered as a communication tool for paralyzed patients. It uses EEG signals and robotic devices to restore movement in patients with impaired cognitive functions and motor disabilities. Studies conducted in the past decade have revealed that these devices have great potential in treating neuro-related impairments. This innovative approach will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the quality of life. Still, technological barriers have led to its clinical application being far–fetched at the moment.
Neurological disorders have clearly been on the rise in recent years, affecting at least one in six people worldwide. The increased cost and incidence of these diseases have made it imperative to find newer treatments to manage and prevent them. To date, significant advances have been made in the electrical stimulation of the brain, robotic–based therapy, neural interfaces, and RNA interference technology to incorporate them as adjuvant or alternative therapy in the treatment regimen of neurological disorders. In addition to these approaches, several other innovative methods are currently being tested across the globe to uncover a blockbuster treatment option in the field of neurology. The rapid advancements in science and technology will boost the research in neurology and lead to the development of several novel therapeutic approaches (Innovative Treatment Approach in Neurology) in the coming years.
Consult a Neurologist in Mumbai
- Dr. Vrajesh Udani- Neurologist in Mumbai
- Dr. Zehra Husain- Neuro Surgeon at Saifee Hospital, Mumbai
- Dr. YOGESH PATIDA- Neurologist at Bhaktivedanta Hospital, Mumbai
- Dr. Vinod Rambal- Neuro Surgeon in Mumbai
- Dr. Viswanathan Iyer- Neuro Surgeon at Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai
- Dr. VISHWANATHAN IYER- Neuro Surgeon at Kohinoor Hospital, Mumbai
- Dr. Vivek Agrawal- Neuro and Spine Surgeon at Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai
- DR. VINAY S. CHAUHAN- Neurologist at Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai
- Dr. Virendra Manek- Neuro Surgeon at Bhaktivedanta Hospital, Mumbai
- DR. VISHAL KUNDNANI- Spine Surgeon in Mumbai
- DR. VAMSI KRISHNA VARMA PENUMATSA- Spine Surgeon at Yashoda Hospitals, Secunderabad
- DR. VENKATA RAMAKRISHNA T- Spine Surgeon at Yashoda Hospitals, Secunderabad