For many decades, pharmaceutical companies have focused on developing new types of medications that cure, treat and manage a wide variety of common diseases and conditions to those that are less common but more challenging to treat.
However, with the use of new drugs for treatment comes an ever-increasing awareness of the short and long-term effects that some of these pharmaceuticals have included with their benefits. Side-effects can range from simply uncomfortable such as rashes or mild headaches and nausea to more significant issues such as addictions, depression and even the risk of other very serious health complications.
To address this, many pharmaceutical companies, as well as new start-up companies focusing on electroceuticals, are looking for ways to use electronics to stimulate various parts of the body to provide healing, treatment or management of symptoms without the need for risky medications.
One of the advantages of electroceuticals is that they can be very targeted types of treatment methods. Instead of taking a pill that then is distrusted through the body in the bloodstream, with electronics implanted in the body specific nerves and systems can be stimulated, bringing about pain relief, changing signals in the nerve and allowing for complete customization to meet the specific needs of the individual patient.
Areas of Focus
Today, the use of electroceuticals is largely focused on the nervous system. However, there is a lot of research that takes this further, look at the option to use the nerves and the electric signals in the body to control inflammation, metabolic processes, hormonal release systems and even to control the functioning of the cardiovascular system.
Currently, several companies have products approved or pending approval for a use that falls into this category. There are systems for the treatment of sleep apnea, obesity, cardiovascular and insulin regulation and in pain management.