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St. Jude gets approval in Europe to sell ‘brain pacemaker’


St. Jude Medical says it’s won approval in Europe to begin selling a deep brain stimulation device there for treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

The devices are sometimes referred to as “brain pacemakers” because, like heart pacemakers, they deliver mild electrical pulses to the body. The brain devices use leads to stimulate parts of the brain involved in muscle and movement control.

The Pioneer Press’ Christopher Snowbeck notes that Medtronic of Fridley is the only company selling a deep brain stimulation system in the United States, and St. Jude’s approval in Europe is a step onto its local competitor’s turf.

One analyst tells the Pioneer Press that it’s going to be tough to compete with Medtronic because doctors using the treatment are already used to the Medtronic devices, which have also been improved over the years.