A recent IEEE Spectrum article discussed a new treatment for arthritis that doesn’t include pharmaceuticals and highlights bioelectronic medicine’s potential to improve lives. The treatment includes modulating the nervous system’s electrical-signaling patterns to combat inflammation and joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. A nerve stimulator is implanted under the skin and attached to the splenic nerve, the main conduit of brain-body communication.
Early versions of the device were somewhat cumbersome, so Setpoint Medical gave it a redesign that made it fit in the neck rather than the chest. They shrunk the neurostimulator to the size of a peanut, integrated electrodes and a wirelessly rechargeable battery, and encased it in silicone. A small trial in 2018 proved the device was safe, and a new larger study is evaluating efficacy. If all goes well, trials for other autoimmune diseases could come next.