A recent clinical trial of a new wrist device was found to drastically reduce the frequency and severity of ticks among people with Tourette syndrome.
The prototype of the device was trialed by 121 people throughout the UK– including Lewis Capaldi, the Scottish singer and songwriter best known for his songs “Someone You Loved” and “Before You Go.”
Scientists from the University of Nottingham and Neurotherapeutics Ltd– a spin-out company– developed this device and recently acquired £1 million of additional funding to help commercialize the device, known as a Neopulse.
The goal is to bring both the device and an app to the general market within three years.
According to the CDC, Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a condition of the nervous system which causes people to have “tics”– or involuntary and sudden movements, twitches, or sounds that individuals repeatedly do.
Prior to these tics– which usually occur numerous times each day– individuals with TS also often experience a robust urge-to-tic beforehand. This is known as premonitory urge (PU).
Past research from scientists at the University of Nottingham’s School of Psychology and School of Medicine utilized repetitive electrical stimulation of the medial nerve (MNS) located at the wrist to change brain oscillations– or rhythmic electrical brain activity– linked to the suppression of movements.
In this research, the team discovered that rhythmic MNS drastically reduced the frequency and intensity of tics. It also removed the PU– or the urge to tic– among individuals diagnosed with TS.
So, in this clinical trial, the participants used the device for 15 minutes daily for one months’ time. A portion of the participants was also video recorded using the device each day, and all participants provided feedback on their experience each week.