The term electroceuticals is used to describe electronic devices that are implanted into the body to stimulate specific parts of the nervous system. They are also known as bioelectronics, and they have been used for decades to treat a wide range of different conditions.
The most well-known use of these devices is the pacemaker. This is a small implant that is used to control the electrical impulses to the heart, maintaining the correct functioning of the heart. There is also a history of the use of bioelectronics in stimulating the spine after injury or disease, as well as the use of cochlear implants to restore hearing.
New research also confirms the use of electroceuticals in treating a range of chronic conditions from asthma to migraines and from obesity to hypertension. While this research is very promising, with a range of other neurological conditions also being studied, the cost of getting these types of treatment options approved is astronomical.
A big challenge in determining the increased use of electroceuticals is the integration of various fields of study in the development of new devices. For example, it is not uncommon for a new design in a bioelectronics device to require the combined input from doctors, engineers, biologists and designers all working together and attempting to create safe, effective and long-lasting devices that are free from any risk of errors, failures or potentially harmful effects to other systems in the body.
A central overarching issue is the lack of specific knowledge about the functioning of the human nervous system. While it is well-understood on a macro system level, controlling only one element of the function of the nervous system without impacting others is a challenge.
The market for bioelectronics continues to grow, and progress is being made on new and advanced types of treatment. Those predicting the market, see this as a positive factor, with personalized treatment without reliance on costly medications driving the research and development aspect of this specialized form of patient care.