Neurology devices are set to become the next generation of medical devices, taking diagnostics and procedures to a new level in the field of neuro-sciences. Developments have been rapid in cardiovascular and orthopedic specialty equipment and devices over recent decades, flooding the markets, and innovation is now heading into the direction of advanced neurology devices. Neurotechnology enables technology and tools to interact with the human nervous system, improving diagnosis and treatments. Under the broad spectrum of Cerebro Spinal Fluid (CSF) Management, Neurosurgical products, Neurostimulation devices, Interventional Neurology, and Radiosurgery, the device market is full of potential and promise.
Range of Devices
Tried and tested technologies used in the development of cardiovascular equipment, such as stents, are being channeled into new experiments to explore their potential in the field of neurology. Vascular stenting has been used for a number of years in treating patients with coronary stenosis, leading neurosurgeons to use the technique in patients presenting with symptoms of carotid stenosis, believed to be far less invasive and risky than the traditional surgical carotid endarterectomy for the prevention of certain types of strokes in high-risk individuals. Neurotechnology is fanning out into treatments for a variety of neurological disorders and conditions. For example, pain management involves the use of TENS - transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation - for the treatment of chronic pain, patients with spinal cord injuries benefit from devices such as breathing pacemaker systems, breathing and cough assistance systems. Sleep disorder studies involve the use of a variety of devices for sleep monitoring and evaluations. Advanced brain monitoring helps in the diagnosis of sleep apnea and memory dysfunctions. Epilepsy treatments have come a long way through the implementation of tools and devices available today, including EEG and neuroimaging tools. Nerve stimulation therapy is a useful tool in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. Vagus nerve stimulator magnets can be used to control seizures and are of great value to sufferers. Neurological stimulation devices are proving invaluable in the treatment of depression and Parkinson's disease.
The market demand for newer and better neurology tools provides the impetus to companies engaged in research and development and the manufacture of neurology-based devices. A large number of procedures involving the nervous system can now be conducted using non-invasive techniques enabled through technological advancements. While neurostimulators form the largest chunk of the market, interventional technology tools are also needed for brain surgeries. Brain tumor surgeries still pose a challenge to neurosurgeons, not least due to a generally poor prognosis resulting from the surgical resection and radiotherapy complications, and compounded by the difficulty of delivering cancer-destroying drugs to the brain. The search for more minimally invasive devices continues. With nearly 60,000 new cases of brain tumors being diagnosed each year in the US, and over 400,000 worldwide, new solutions are constantly in demand by the medical professionals. The growth in the device market led to it being valued at $2 billion just a few years ago in 2008 and is estimated to reach $4 billion by 2015.
Overall, the range of illnesses and diseases afflicting the human nervous system - brain, nerves, and spinal cord - is vast. From spinal injuries to brain tumors, from epilepsy to Alzheimer's disease, the global need and demand for better and more capable devices is the driving force behind the research and markets for the medical device industry.