What is the connection between the brain’s everyday ability to “rewire” itself, and a device being developed to treat people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases?

The tongue, suggests an article in MultipleSclerosisNewsToday.com

Daniela Semedo, PhD discusses the topic, and one company’s plans to apply for approval for their non-invasive device -Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator, or PoNS – with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

“PoNS is a non-invasive device that allows the delivery of neurostimulation through the tongue. The device, developed by scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Tactile Communication and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory (TCNL), is based on the concept that the tongue is a natural, direct way to stimulate the brain, as it is rich in nerve fibers and connected by two major cranial nerves to the brainstem. PoNS is being developed as a therapy for the treatment of chronic neurological symptoms of trauma or disease, including MS.”

Helius Medical Technologies’s Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS), a device being developed to treat neuroplasticity in people with MS, has been recommended for ISO 13485 certification, an international standard of quality management for medical devices, after a positive evaluation by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Limited (LRQA).

According to the story, “PoNS’ efficacy is currently being assessed in a clinical trial (NCT02158494) in patients with balance disorder as a result of a traumatic brain injury.”

What is neuroplasticity and what does it mean to MS patients?

Dr. Karen Lee, Vice President of Research at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada discusses neuroplasticity (the “rewiring” process that allows you to learn a new language or to ride a bike) as it relates to MS on her website:

“While neuroplasticity has captivated the minds of scientists for decades, it is only recently that the role of this phenomenon in MS has entered the spotlight.
To study neuroplasticity in the brain, scientists employ specialized imaging techniques, such as functional MRI (fMRI), combined with standard motor or sensory tasks that allow them to map the brains of patients in real-time and detect how certain regions “light up” on a scan during a specific task.

For example, a patient may be asked to perform a simple motor task, such as tapping his or her index finger, or squeezing a tennis ball, while different cortical regions are monitored using fMRI to detect changes in activity. This information, in turn, can be compared between people with … MS, and healthy individuals to show how specific regions of the brain can effectively take over the function of other, damaged areas.”


To learn more about Helius’ plans to apply for approval in the United States with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), visit:  https://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2016/10/31/helius-pons-neurostimulator-recommended-for-iso-13485-certificationhttps://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2016/10/31/helius-pons-neurostimulator-recommended-for-iso-13485-certification

To read Dr. Lee’s discussion of developments in the field of neuroplasticity and MS, visit: https://drkarenlee.ca/rewiring-neurons-how-the-brain-copes-with-ms/https://drkarenlee.ca/rewiring-neurons-how-the-brain-copes-with-ms/