The pacemaker-like microregulator device, which is fitted under the skin near the collarbone, sends electrical pulses to a key nerve that helps block the pain of inflamed joints and reduce swelling and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
The pain and swelling of this condition is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the joints.
The job of one of the nerves is to reduce the release of inflammatory compounds for the spleen, and what the device does is send small electric shocks to the nerve.
Tests have shown that this helps reduce inflammation and 6 our of 8 patients had significant improvements in joint flexibility and pain.
If left untreated, joints can lose shape and alignment and nearby cartilage and bone can be damaged, leading to permanent disability.
Currently, according to an article in the Daily Mail Health section, patients typically take a cocktail of powerful drugs to dampen the immune system. People who use them are more likely to become ill from infections such as pneumonia.