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Monthly brain cycles predict seizures in patients with epilepsy

Implanted electrodes reveal long-term patterns of seizure risk.   University of California San Francisco neurologists have discovered monthly cycles of brain activity linked to seizures in patients with epilepsy. The finding, published online January 8 in Nature Communications, suggests it may soon be possible for clinicians to identify when patients are at highest risk for seizures, allowing patients to plan around these brief but potentially dangerous events.

Device Shows Long-term Efficacy for Intractable Seizures

Almost three quarters of patients with medically intractable seizures who received neurostimulation with a novel device called the RNS System (NeuroPace Inc) had sustained seizure reduction at 8 years, new research shows. Furthermore, the analysis found that almost a third of those receiving the RNS System had at least one 6-month period without seizures and that the treatment remained relatively safe over time.

NeuroPace Epileptic Seizure Control System: Interview with Dr. Martha Morrell, CMO of NeuroPace

People with certain types of epilepsy may have the option to use a therapy that doesn’t include drugs. The RNS System from NeuroPace, a company out of Mountain View, California, monitors the brain for signs of an oncoming seizure and stimulates it to disrupt the process. It has been approved in the U.S. for about four years now, and we wanted to find more about how it works and how it’s being used. We had a chance to speak with Dr. Martha Morrell, Chief Medical Officer of NeuroPace, who was kind enough to answer our questions. Medgadget: The NeuroPace RNS system has shown to be effective at reducing seizures in many patients with epilepsy. Can you give us a brief overview of how the system functions?

New surgery tried for Nationwide Children’s epilepsy patient

Elizabeth Szasz is 12 years old but is unable to lead the typical life of a middle schooler. She was diagnosed with epilepsy as a baby and has tried several treatments for her life-threatening seizures. Each new treatment would work for a short time. But her seizures, which can last longer than two hours would return. Her parents say they felt hopeless.

Silicon Valley firm’s implant helps stop brain seizures

Imagine a seismograph — the instrument that measures and records earthquakes and volcanic eruptions — for your brain. Except this one has a wireless link to a device implanted in your head that stops epileptic seizures at their source, halting the sudden and violent attacks before they happen. It’s not science fiction.

Study shows continuous electrical stimulation suppresses seizures in patients with epilepsy

When surgery and medication don’t help people with epilepsy, electrical stimulation of the brain has been a treatment of last resort. Unfortunately, typical approaches, such as vagal nerve stimulation or responsive nerve stimulation, rarely stop seizures altogether. But a new Mayo Clinic study in JAMA Neurology shows that seizures were suppressed in patients treated with continuous electrical stimulation. Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted. In the study, 13 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy were deemed unsuitable for resective surgery, which removes a portion of the brain — usually about the size of a golf ball — that was causing seizures. When patients are evaluated for surgery, a grid of electrical contacts ...

New Wearable EEG!

Researchers have developed a wearable electroencephalogram (EEG) device that can detect and record seizure activity in epilepsy patients in the outpatient setting, they reported on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society in Philadelphia. The so-called EEG Patch, a small, waterproof, scalp-mounted device, was designed to help patients more accurately track their seizures, Mark Lehmkuhle, PhD, a research assistant professor in neurosurgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, who presented the findings at the meeting, told the Neurology Today Conference Reporter ahead of the session.   The EEG Patch is designed to be fixed to a part of the patient’s scalp where seizures are known to originate based on EEG recorded in-hospital during a traditio...

VNS technology could help improve lives of people recovering from stroke

A new study involving UT Dallas researchers shows that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) technology could help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who suffer weakness and paralysis caused by strokes. The study, published in the journal Stroke, marks the first time that VNS has been tested in individuals recovering from stroke. VNS already has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for certain illnesses, such as depression and epilepsy. It involves sending a mild electric pulse through the vagus nerve, which is in the neck. Stimulating this nerve relays information about the state of the body to the brain and encourages it to reorganize in a process called neural plasticity.

Neurostimulation in epilepsy: New techniques, new promises

“Despite the advent of new pharmacological treatments and the high success rate of many surgical treatments for epilepsy, a substantial number of patients do not become seizure-free or experience major adverse events. This fact is an important motivation to investigate and develop novel therapeutic approaches,” said Prof Paul Boon from Ghent University Hospital (Belgium), Chairperson of the EAN Congress Programme Committee, at the 1st Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in Berlin. More than 6,500 experts from around the world are discussing the latest developments in their field from 20 to 23 June 2015 in the German capital city. “While neurostimulation-based treatments have already been gaining considerable interest for some time, among the recent develop...

Reducing epileptic seizures with deep brain stimulation

As her Emory doctors told Paula Moreland how they were proposing to treat her seizures, her eyes grew wide. Moreland’s mother, who was with her at the appointment, said, “Just listen to them, babe.” A surgeon would implant an electrical stimulation device deep within her brain. The device would deliver current to calm the storms of signals that would sometimes erupt and cause her to lose consciousness. Moreland had already seen several neurologists and tried a variety of anti-seizure drugs. At one point, she was taking seven different medications. “They didn’t seem to work, and they made me sick,” she says. “I went to talk with one doctor, and he threw up his hands. It was like he was saying, ‘I give up.’ ” Epilepsy seemed to have...

Direct brain responsive neurostimulator reduces seizures, improves quality of life

Piotr Olejniczak, MD, PhD, LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Neurology and Director of the Epilepsy Center, contributed to a study of the long-term effectiveness of the first direct brain responsive neurostimulator for partial onset, or focal, seizures that cannot be controlled with medication. The study found that responsive direct cortical stimulation reduces seizures and improves quality of life over an average of 5.4 years. The study is published in the February 24, 2015, issue of the journal, Neurology. The results are part of the Long-Term Treatment (LTT) Study, an ongoing seven-year multicenter prospective open-label study to evaluate the long-term efficacy and safety of the RNS® System. The technology, FDA-approved for adults with focal (in one part of the brain) seizures, contin...

RNS – The “Smart Implant” that Helps Control Epilepsy

Since 2007, Hood had suffered from debilitating seizures that a powerful mix of medications couldn’t control. Hood, 47, is one of the first people in the nation to get a new device implanted in her brain that monitors for signs of seizures and sends impulses directly to the source to quiet the storm. Before undergoing brain surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in April, Hood suffered seizure activity as often as five times a day. Now she experiences two or three auras a month that end before a full seizure begins. “I feel it coming on very faintly and then it stops,” she said. The NeuroPace RNS System is a “smart device” that monitors the brain’s activity, interprets the signals and provides stimulation when needed for patients’ intractable seizures. Th...

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