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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
“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...
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...