Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s disease just got smarter


sponsored by Medtronic

Author: Jason SinclairPublished: 14 October 2021

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Medtronic, one of the leading forces in neuroscience technology, is offering an adaptable approach to Deep Brain Stimulation with its SenSight™ Directional Lead System. We talk to Professors Stephan Chabardès and Elena Moro about what the treatment could mean for people with Parkinson’s disease

Grenoble Alpes University, in the foothills of the French Alps, has long been a major centre for Parkinson’s disease research. In particular, it’s played a crucial role in the development of Deep Brain Stimulation therapy for movement disorders. “The first patient we operated on in Grenoble using DBS was in 1987,” remembers the institution’s professor of neurosurgery and head of the functional neurosurgery department, Stephan Chabardès. “We first used our current form of surgery in 1993.”

DBS surgery is commonly performed on people with ‘advanced’ Parkinson’s, for whom non-surgical treatments are no longer having the desired effects. A small pacemaker-like device sends electrical signals through thin wires (or ‘leads’) to a targeted area of the brain, offering better control of body movements to the eligible patient – and potentially improving quality of life.

The incredibly skilled DBS operations involve “planting two electrodes in the patient’s brain in a very small target, roughly five millimetres diameter and three millimetres high”. This technique has become the “gold standard” for Parkinson’s surgery, Chabardès says.

Now, the innovative new SenSight™ Directional DBS Lead System from Medtronic completes the medical technology company’s DBS Portfolio, allowing patients to benefit from brain recording and advanced programming capabilities.

This approach takes fluctuations in Parkinson’s disease symptoms into account. “The clinical status of the patient varies throughout the day, depending on the medicine they take, the mood they are in and the amount of rest they’ve had,” says Chabardès. “Usually, the idea is to be able to record brain signals and then, depending on the results we’ve recorded, optimise a patient’s treatment. What this DBS system is offering is a way of catching those results all day, outside the clinic, to try to stimulate in a way that’s closer to the reality of the patient.”

A patient and doctor converse over files.

Medtronic’s latest innovation may help to “empower” people with Parkinson’s in their care.

“We want to make DBS even more efficient”

The SenSight™ Directional DBS Lead System, which was first implanted into a Grenoble patient in March this year, works with the Percept™ PC neurostimulator to enhance detection of certain types of electrical signals in the brain. These have been shown to offer data-driven insights to healthcare professionals.

“What may seem like small changes to materials, design and technology may actually result in meaningful improvements – precisely delivering stimulation to each individual patient, streamlining the surgical procedure and capturing objective data for more efficient, informed programming,” explains Chabardès.

His colleague Professor Elena Moro, professor of neurology at Grenoble Alpes University and director of the Movement Disorders Centre at the University Hospital Centre, adds that having expert healthcare perspectives at every stage of the DBS process is essential: “You can get very good benefits from this treatment, but you need a good team able to select the right candidate. You need a good neurosurgeon, able to put to the electrode exactly where it needs to be. Then you need people who know how to manage the stimulator, the parameters of stimulation afterwards, and be able to troubleshoot the possible side effects or complications that you might have.”

Professor Elena Moro.

Moro is enthused by a new generation of products which can be adapted to individuals. “It’s very interesting that SenSight™ can be personalised to your needs,” she says. “Because the product just came out, there’s still a lot of research to be done on how we can improve the system and how we can adapt it to other conditions. But there are good possibilities for personalising the medication and empowering patients to understand what’s happening with their brain so they can manage their own condition.”

As these new DBS technologies emerge, Moro says that the centre in Grenoble is full of neurosurgeons and neurologists who “want to better understand the technique and how to manage it”.

And, she says, there’s still plenty of innovations in store as these treatments evolve: “We’ve written the introduction to the book. Now we have to write the book itself.”

Need to know

Stephan Chabardès is professor of neurosurgery and head of the functional neurosurgery department at Grenoble Alpes University, France. His main research interests lie in the overarching neurosciences, and the application of DBS to the treatment of movement disorders and epilepsy – as well as their underlying electrophysiological mechanisms.

Elena Moro is professor of neurology at Grenoble Alpes University, and director of the Movement Disorders Centre at the University Hospital Centre, Grenoble. Her field of research includes neuromodulation for movement disorders, with a focus on new targets of Deep Brain Stimulation in movement disorders and better understanding of its mechanisms of action.

See the device manual for detailed information regarding the instructions for use, indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and potential adverse events. If using an MRI SureScan® device, see the MRI SureScan® technical manual before performing an MRI. For further information, contact your local Medtronic representative and/or consult the Medtronic website at

Information contained herein does not replace the recommendations of your healthcare professional. See the device manual for detailed information regarding the instructions for use, indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and potential adverse events. For further information, contact your healthcare professional.

This article is sponsored by Medtronic. The information in this article is given for information purposes only and does not represent an endorsement by the European Parkinson’s Disease Association of any particular treatments, products or companies. This article is not a substitute for advice from your doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. Parkinson’s Life makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness or accuracy of information provided.

Read more:

5 things you might not know about DBS

DBS: “We are moving past the idea that one treatment fits all”

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