Medtech in the UK and Google’s Quest for A Depression Biomarker

AABM News Roundup: November 2020

Photo by David Monaghan on Unsplash

Lead Stories: November 2020

Sky Medical Technology’s CEO, Bernard Ross, discusses how bioelectronic medicine can offer solutions to critical public health challenges in the U.K.:

“Medical devices can significantly reduce NHS waiting lists by making treatment pathways much more efficient. For example, wearable bioelectronic therapy, a medical device innovation already used in many NHS Trusts, sends a small electrical pulse down the lower limbs, activating the calf muscles to increase blood flow in the deep veins, to address life threatening blood clots and pre and post-operative swelling following orthopaedic surgery.”

Read Mr. Ross’s complete op-ed here: How can technology save the NHS? BusinessCloud, November 13, 2020

Alphabet’s X, Google’s “Moonshot Factory,” has been working to identify a biomarker for depression using electroencephalography (EEG) and machine learning. In a recent blog post, Alphabet X revealed that they did not accomplish this, but the research effort could lead to advances in EEG:

“Perhaps in the hands of the broader community, the work the team did on rendering EEG more accessible beyond specialized testing facilities will lead to other interesting discoveries.”

To learn more about takeaways from this research, see: Alphabet’s X details Project Amber, a quest for a single biomarker for depression that fell short of its goal, TechCrunch, November 2, 2020

An experimental device can provide hope to those with under-active bladders. The implantable smart wrap, which “fits safely and securely around the bladder” can help patients urinate more regularly and comfortably. Science Daily describes how it works:

“The device, which was tested in mice, uses sensors to enable precise monitoring in real-time…the microLEDs, which are an array of micro light-emitting diodes, on the electronic thread are designed to deliver light to the bladder for optogenetic neuromodulation, which modulates the function of the targeted organ.”

For more information this promising technology, visit: ‘Smart Wrap’ implant may help people better control their bladders, Science Daily, November 11, 2020

More Bioelectronic Medicine Headlines From November

Industry News

Opportunities in Bioelectronic Medicine — Recent Progress, IDTechEx, November 17, 2020

  • Bioelectronic medicine is often considered the best treatment option to address conditions poorly served by pharmaceutical or surgical interventions. However, the sector is fragmented, as “only a couple of small companies compete against each other in over a dozen therapeutic areas.” Cala Health and Neuromod Devices are noted for their non-invasive peripheral nerve stimulation technologies for essential tremor and tinnitus, respectively.

Corporate News

BioElectronics Earns CE Mark for the ActiPatch and RecoveryRx — Drug-Free Pain Therapy Devices, Seeking Alpha, November 12, 2020

  • The European Union certified that ActiPatch and RecoveryRx meet its health, safety, and environmental standards. ActiPatch “is indicated for the treatment of general musculoskeletal/soft-tissue pain, while RecoveryRx is indicated for the treatment of postoperative pain.”

Abbott begins U.S. rollout of its radiofrequency ablation device for chronic pain, Fierce Biotech, November 10, 2020·

  • Abbot introduced its “first company-developed radiofrequency ablation system, designed to target and burn out specific nerves with heat energy to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain.” The device, called the IonicRF system, was approved in Europe and has been approved by the U.S. FDA for the nonsurgical treatment of chronic pain. This story was also covered in Mass Device.

Research News

Pancreatic Beta Cells Interact With Vagal Sensory Neurons, MedScape, November 16, 2020

  • Florida researchers have found that “pancreatic islets are densely innervated by sensory neurons, many of vagal origin.” Researchers hope that this research will help us “treat diabetes by stimulating the vagus nerve to coerce the pancreatic beta cell to secrete insulin.”

Holistic way to look at neurons in the brain, Science Daily, November 12, 2020

  • Using a unique technique to capture “ a brain cell’s 3D shape, its unique electrical properties, and the suite of genes it switches on,” researchers are beginning to better understand the full “family tree” of mammal brains.

Brainstem Neurons Identified as Regulator of Inflammation, Feinstein Institute press release, November 10, 2020

  • A small group of neurons controls the body’s immune response and the release of cytokines, which cause inflammation, researchers have discovered. Thanks to this breakthrough, we better understand how the body’s immune response is regulated by the brain.



Alliance for Advancing Bioelectronic Medicine

Committed to accelerating the development and uptake of bioelectronic medicine.