Monday 6 October 2014

The new method for the treatment of neurologically caused impairments of the visual system.

As it was announced on September 22, 2014,  The company EBS Technologies has opened its first ophthalmologic clinical site in Germany that is offering the use of the EBS NEXT WAVE™ brain stimulation device designed to expand the visual field of patients with impaired vision caused by glaucoma, stroke and other neurological diseases. 

On the official web-site of EBS Technologies you can find the detailed description of the therapy they propose: 

The EBS Therapy
The EBS Therapy (abbreviated Еlectrical Brain Synchronization) is a completely new method for the treatment of neurologically caused impairments of the visual system.

The EBS Therapy is a non-invasive, low risk electrical stimulation treatment device that is individually adapted to the patient’s condition in order to restore visual field losses caused by neurological disorders such as stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (AION), Neuropathy of the optic nerve as well as several types of glaucoma. Common to all of these diseases is the damage of neuronal structures in the optic nerve and/or of those areas of the brain that are responsible for visual perception. Such damage may reduce the visual performance of the patient.

In some cases, the functionality of the optic nerve can be restored by a spontaneous reorganization of the brain (self-healing effect). However, most of these losses are considered to be permanent.

The EBS Therapy is made possible by the NEXT WAVE™ Technology, which uses patterns of current-driven electrical pulses that are applied via 4 electrodes around the patient’s eyes. 

Mechanism of Action 

According to information-theoretical approaches, the complete information of the brain is stored in the form of neurological networks. After an accident or because of specific neurological diseases of the brain (stroke or TBI as well as neuro-ophthalmological diseases such as glaucoma), these networks are damaged to varying degrees, which may result in a loss of function (e.g. visual field losses). This loss of function is not only caused by the death of affected cells, but also as a result of inactivity of the surviving cells in the network. 

One of the EBS Therapy mechanisms is to improve the residual function of these networks by reactivating the surviving but inactive cells and re-including them into the network (neuro-synchronization). In addition to this neuro-plastic effect, the alternating current stimulation of EBS Therapy also shows a neuro-protective effect as it influences the metabolism of the nerve cells. As a result, EBS Therapy restores parts of the brain functionality or reduces additional loss of function (e.g. glaucoma). 

EBS Therapy stimulates the retina of the patient (retino-fugal stimulation) and induces a series of action potentials that travel on the optic nerve back into the visual center of the brain. The brain interprets these signals as light sensations (phosphenes). At the same time, the measurement of brain-only EEG-signals allows for the optimization of pulse sequences in such a way that a sustainable improvement of the residual performance can be achieved (permanent learning effect).

The EBS Therapy consists of 10 sessions, which are held on 10 consecutive working days. One therapy session lasts up to 70 minutes. 

The efficacy of the EBS Therapy was demonstrated in a randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blind trial.

Measurement criteria of this trial were changes in the visual field, which means the spatial perception of the optic nerve. These changes were defined and quantified by standardized perimetric measurements. With an average improvement of 24 % of the entire visual field, the trial data proved to be statistically significant.
The CE marked EBS Therapy is offered at qualified clinical centers in Germany.

Current experience shows that the treatment success of EBS Therapy can activate spontaneous processes of brain plasticity, which may lead to further improvement of the patient’s visual performances even after the completion of the therapy. 

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