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Neurostimulator technology offers alternative treatment for health problems

Neurostimulator technology offers alternative treatment for health problems

Bruce Towe is using a combination of electricity and ultrasound to develop alternative health treatment systems.

Bruce Towe, professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, teamed up with a local physician and entrepreneur to develop a device that promises relief for people who suffer from acid reflux. The pair developed a system that powers a microchip neurostimulator using ultrasound—very high-frequency sound waves. Their patented technology eliminates the need for an implanted power source and leads.

Ultrasound applied outside the body is intercepted by a tiny microchip implanted at the site where stimulation is needed. The microchip converts the sound energy into electrical signals that are applied to the tissue.

The technology has been licensed to St. Louis-based EndoStim, Inc. The company plans to use the technology to help treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as acid reflux.

Beyond helping control acid reflux, the technology also might be effective in reducing pain caused by physical ailments and in treating neurological disorders.

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