June 24, 2005

Brain Monitoring Technology

A research alliance has been developed to fund the production of a new brain-monitoring technology that would be able to help in the diagnosis and treatment of depression, Alzheimers, and other neurological disorders. Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX) will be giving Aspect Medical Systems (ASPM) $25 million to fund its development.

This technology could aid psychiatrists clinicians in finding the drugs most suitable for each patient suffering from depression. The significance of this research alliance is reinforced by findings being presented at this week's meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) indicating that Aspect's technology may be able to help clinicians improve patient response to antidepressant therapy and provide early identification of cognitive decline associated with AD. For the estimated 18.8 million Americans suffering from depression and four million from AD, this research may signal new hope to more quickly match depression sufferers with effective pharmaceutical or device- based therapies, and to help identify AD patients in the earliest stages of disease.

A technology that could help clinicians identify neurological disease states, as well as the first, best medication or device-based therapies for treating psychiatric illnesses, could profoundly impact clinical practice," said Andrew Leuchter, M.D., professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and chair of Aspect's neuroscience advisory board. "The challenge is finding the best treatment to help each individual recover quickly. With depression alone, fewer than 50 percent of patients get well after their first course of antidepressant therapy, and many patients become discouraged and give up when repeated attempts at treatment prove ineffective or cause severe side effects. If Aspect's technology could help determine at an early time if an antidepressant therapy is likely to speed recovery, it could help make depression easier to manage, improve treatment adherence, and dramatically improve the quality of life for millions of patients. Furthermore, for those patients who do not respond to medication, Aspect's technology could potentially guide device-based neurostimulation therapy by helping clinicians determine if this approach would be effective prior to device implantation, and by helping clinicians determine the appropriate amount of stimulation to use."

Four studies related to the use of Aspect's brain monitoring technology in detecting and managing the treatment of neurological and psychiatric conditions are being presented at the APA meeting. This research supports previous studies indicating that Aspect's brain monitoring technology was able to predict within a few days of initiating treatment the effectiveness of antidepressant medications in treating depressed patients. This finding is significant because it typically takes several weeks to determine if a depressed patient has responded to a specific treatment, and many patients suffer while they undergo multiple changes in therapy to identify an effective regimen. Other research being presented at the meeting further indicates that Aspect's technology correlates with clinical assessments of mild cognitive dysfunction, which may precede the onset of AD.

The benefits that this will reap for those with depression, Alzheimer's, and other neurological disorders has only begun to be tapped.

To view the full press release go to: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050523/nem008.html?.v=11

The source of this article was the Boston Scientific Corporation.


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