FDA approves St. Jude's brain implant for Parkinson's disease

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it approved a brain implant from St. Jude Medical Inc that helps reduce symptoms of Parkinson's disease and essential tremor, a neurological disorder that causes rhythmic shaking.

The device, Brio Neurostimulation System, is an implantable small generator that delivers low intensity electrical pulses to target areas in the brain. (

The device can be used when medication alone may not provide adequate relief from symptoms such as walking difficulties, balance problems, and tremors associated with the two movement disorders, the FDA said on Friday.

There are no cures for Parkinson's disease or essential tremor, and thus finding better ways to manage symptoms is essential for patients.

The implant is the second device approved for the indication after Medtronic Plc's Activa Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy System.

About 50,000 Americans are affected by Parkinson's each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

St. Jude's shares closed at $74.34 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.