Could a magnetically powered implant treat Parkinson’s tremors?

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Author: Pippa Prendergast-CoatesPublished: 25 June 2020

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Brain scans

A tiny surgical implant about the size of a grain of rice that can be implanted with minimally invasive surgery may be used to treat tremors in people with Parkinson’s.

Developed by a team of researchers at Rice University, US, the implant uses a thin film of magnetoelectric material to convert acoustic waves from the brain’s magnetic field into electrical voltage. The device produces the same high-frequency signals as clinically approved implants used to treat Parkinson’s, epilepsy and other conditions – and eliminates the need for battery or wired power supply.

In an initial study, the researchers showed that the implants worked in rodents. Professor Jacob Robinson, corresponding author of the study, said: “Our results suggest that using magnetoelectric materials for wireless power delivery is more than a novel idea. These materials are excellent candidates for clinical-grade, wireless bioelectronics.”


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