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The History of Microcurrent Stimulation for the Treatment of Retinal Disease and a Call for Investigators for Clinical Trials.

DISCLAIMER

The data presented here has not been reviewed by the FDA, nor has it been peer reviewed. The microcurrent devices used are approved by the FDA for the treatment of pain, but they have not been approved for other uses. The use of a device for an off-label use by a physician is legal. The use of microcurrent stimulation discussed here is only one part of a comprehensive program for supporting visual health. Dr. Miller is not a manufacturer of these devices, and the material presented here is informational, and is not intended as simply a solicitation to sell devices.

If you have further questions about the work being done by Dr. Miller, please contact his office to arrange an appointment or consultation.


I have been fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time to have the opportunity to participate in the rise to prominence of a remarkable new therapy for the treatment of retinal disease, especially Stargaart's Disease, Age Related Macular Degeneration , and Retinitis Pigmentosa. For years, conventional medical wisdom has dictated that these diseases, all relentlessly and progressively degenerative were untreatable. Hope for finding a treatment was dim to none. Patients with any of the above were told to plan for potentially devastating losses of visual acuity.

In the very early Eighties, Grace Halloran (now Dr. Grace Halloran) learned that she was losing her vision to retinitis pigmentosa. By the time that she learned of the disease, and the extraordinarily high likelihood of passing it on to her offspring, she was already pregnant with her second and had given up her firstborn for adoption. Grace had no way to find that first child and lived in fear that she had passed the potential blindness on to both her children.

Grace's story is told in her book Amazing Grace, currently in print and published by North Star Publications. By 1983, Grace was legally blind, being worse than 20/200 in both eyes. Grace is not a person who gives up easily, and in her search for alternative methods of treatment, she met Herbie Berger, (now Dr. Herbie Berger). Herbie told her of a new technology, microcurrent stimulation, which was providing remarkable results for the treatment of pain. Eager to evaluate anything, Grace asked Herbie for his help.

They chose to stimulate eight acupuncture points around the orbit. One of the qualities of acupuncture points is that they are points of focal low electrical resistance on the surface of the body. That makes them excellent loci to apply bio-electrical stimulation, which allows the treatment to penetrate deeper and faster. Grace had remarkable results, not only stopping the progression of her disease, but also bringing about amazing improvement in her vision. Within 12 months, Grace owned her first Grace Halloran has made it a life's work to help people with retinal disease.

Two years later, in 1985, an optometrist from South Dakota, Dr. Leland Michael, attended a pain management seminar in San Francisco, as did Grace. Grace, then the President of the Center for Eye Health, in Santa Rosa, and Dr. Michaels struck up a friendship. Dr. Michaels then concluded his West Coast trip with a visit to Grace to be trained in her procedures for treating RP and ARMD with microcurrent electrical stimulation.

That training was the beginning of a study that lasted nearly eight years and consummated in an article in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine in 1993. Dr. Michaels reported the findings on a group of 25 ARMD patients followed from 1985 to 1992. Dr. Michaels reported that over the course of the study, there was an average improvement in the vision in the left eye of 1.4 letters. One patient with the wet form had a severe bleed causing a 66 letter loss in that eye. Discounting the extreme skew in the data created by this one patient, there was a .66 letter average improvement in the left eye during the same period. Unfortunately, Dr. Michaels died shortly after completing that phase of the study.

In October 1997, I attended a Symposium for Biologically Closed Circuits where several papers were presented on the treatment of ARMD with microcurrent stimulation. By that time, the devices of choice were from MicroStim® Technology Incorporated. Dr. Joel Rossen, president of MicroStim®, had developed and patented a unique line of microcurrent stimulators. I acquired one of the MicroStim® Devices and shortly thereafter, started treating macular degeneration patients. I have recently compiled the statistics for the first 121 patients I treated for macular degeneration (30% wet and 70% dry) in my office during the last two years. Over all, 84% of all eyes showed improvement of as little as 1 line to as much as 5 lines on the Snelling visual acuity test. Less than 1% of all 240 eyes lost more than one line.

The original selection of the points that were treated with microcurrent stimulation was based on work that had been done using acupuncture to treat retinal disease. Using his knowledge of acupuncture, and relying on advise from other experienced acupuncturists, he made some modifications to the protocols that had been developed for Grace Halloran. He felt that some minor changes in the points that were treated would make the treatment more effective.

The results in treating people with macular degeneration in this office are as good or better than that reported by others. We are quite pleased with the success that comes from the use of microcurrent stimulation. The results from the treatment of the first 121 patients in this office are reported on my website at www.acupunctureworks.com.

In talking with other physicians who are also treating ARMD patients with the techniques described here, there appears to be a constancy to the success that is obtained. They have all reported improvement in at 70-90% of dry patients. I believe that this is probably due in large part to the technology in the microcurrent stimulator manufactured by MicroStim®, Inc. This technology, properly and conscientiously applied brings results in all of the centers where it has been adopted.

Microcurrent stimulation therapy is not a miracle cure for macular degeneration. It is a therapy in the form of a very specific and controlled type of electrical stimulation and relies on very sophisticated technology. In addition to this stimulation therapy, the addition of certain supplements, anti-oxidants, and vitamins that are beneficial for protecting the eye and assisting the eye in healing is also recommended. Like any disease, there is a need for the proper diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.

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From the Office of Damon P. Miller II, M.D., N.D.
Contact us at millermd@flash.net
Phone: (650) 948-5120
Fax: (650) 948-5360