The following captured my attention in the announcement of the 11th World Congress of the International Neuromodulation Society, “Technology Transforming Chronic Illness Management.” From June 8 – 13, 2013:
“Micro-Magnetic Stimulation (Monday, June 10) – John T. Gale, Ph.D., has demonstrated for the first time that deep brain stimulation with micro-magnets can activate brain cells in a living organism. Dr. Gale’s research team has shown that placing a micro-magnet on the auditory pathway of hamsters triggers nerve signal transmission. Stimulation from uniquely designed magnetic fields could avoid unintentional activation of nearby brain areas and the associated side effects. Micro-magnets might one day provide stimulation for heart pacing, cochlear implants, Parkinson’s disease, or neural prosthetics.”
I have worked on TMS before, even home-brewed a TMS device (the design of which is detailed in my book “Design and Development of Medical Electronic Instrumentation: A Practical Perspective of the Design, Construction, and Test of Medical Devices”), but it takes a very large amount of energy to induce sufficient current in the tissue to stimulate excitable tissue, so it peaked my attention that to do so at the implantable level would be under consideration.