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Non-Drug Approach to Improve Memory and Balance in MS Patients

November 16, 2015

Investigators have developed and tested a new non-drug, non-invasive device that improved memory and balance in individuals with multiple sclerosis. The new device, called the Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS), delivers neuro-stimulation through the tongue.

The pilot study of PoNS was conducted by Helius Medical Technologies, the developer, in 14 individuals (7 with MS and 7 without). The strategy for this device was to deliver neuro-stimulation to the tongue, which has a direct line to the brain and brainstem.

According to the study, participants with MS experienced a significant improvement in their balance after they went through 14 weeks of treatment, and they also demonstrated brain function similar to that of individuals without the disease. Even better, the new therapy was found to cause no side effects.

After evaluating the results of this study, the authors determined that an appropriate study size for a multiple sclerosis clinical trial study is 128 participants. Right now, the PoNS device is being tested in the United States for treatment of balance disorders in individuals who are living with mild to moderate traumatic brain injury.

If Helius can gain approval from the FDA for use of this device in balance disorders (and it has plans to file for FDA clearance), it may be a short road for approved use in patients with multiple sclerosis.