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With Epilepsy on The Rise, Thousands of Americans Are Turning To The Internet For Advice

Epilepsy is on the rise in the USA, recent figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirm. According to a 2018 report issued by the CDC, “Active Epilepsy and Seizure Control in Adults — United States, 2013 and 2015”, the number of Americans self-reporting epilepsy rose from 2.3 million in 2010, to approximately 3 million in 2015. A 1994 report — Current Trends Prevalence of Self-Reported Epilepsy, United States, 1986-1990 — estimated that the number of Americans with self reported epilepsy was just 1.1 million at the time. Why we built the 100% non-profit EpilepsyU.com for U www.EpilepsyU.com reaches an average of 1.3 million visitors each month!) An increasing number of Americans are utilizing the internet for advice about their condition highlighting the...

FDA Approves Medtronic’s Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy for Refractory Epilepsy

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted premarket approval for Medtronic’s Deep Brain Stimulation DBS) therapy as adjunctive treatment for reducing the frequency of partial-onset seizures in individuals 18 years of age or older who are refractory to 3 or more antiepileptic medications.   The therapy delivers controls electrical pulses to the anterior nucleus of the thalamus, a target in the brain that is part of a network involved in seizures.

Memory-boosting brain implants are in the works. Would you get one?

Neural prostheses look promising in new studies, though there’s still a lot of work to do.   How far would you go to keep your mind from failing? Would you go so far as to let a doctor drill a hole in your skull and stick a microchip in your brain?   It’s not an idle question. In recent years neuroscientists have made major advances in cracking the code of memory, figuring out exactly how the human brain stores information and learning to reverse-engineer the process. Now they’ve reached the stage where they’re starting to put all of that theory into practice.   Last month two research teams reported success at using electrical signals, carried into the brain via implanted wires, to boost memory in small groups of test patients. “It’s a major milestone in demonstrating...

Can MRI Brain Scans Help Us Understand Epilepsy?

A massive meta-analysis of global MRI imaging data on epilepsy patients seeks to clarify a complicated and mysterious neurological disorder. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by seizures, which can vary from mild and almost undetectable to severe, featuring vigorous shaking. Almost 40 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy. Epileptic seizures are caused by an abnormally high level of activity in nerve cells in the brain. A small number of cases have been tied to a genetic defect, and major trauma to the brain (such as an injury or stroke) can also induce seizures. However, for the majority of cases, the underlying cause of epilepsy is not known. In many instances, epilepsy can be treated with the use of anti-convulsant medication. Some people will experience an i...

Capturing Brain Signals With Soft Electronics

NEW TECHNOLOGY BREAKTHROUGH   Klas Tybrandt, principal investigator at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University, has developed new technology for long-term stable neural recording. It is based on a novel elastic material composite, which is biocompatible and retains high electrical conductivity even when stretched to double its original length.   The result has been achieved in collaboration with colleagues in Zürich and New York. The breakthrough, which is crucial for many applications in biomedical engineering, is described in an article published in the prestigious scientific journal Advanced Materials. The coupling between electronic components and nerve cells is crucial not only to collect information about cell signalling, but also to diagnose and treat...

MRI device that could enhance medical diagnostics

A Purdue-affiliated startup, MR-Link LLC, is developing a coin-sized, affordable device that once inserted into existing MRI machines could allow researchers and medical professionals to perform multiple imaging scans at once and more efficiently and effectively understand a patient’s physiology.   Ranajay Mandal, a graduate student in Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Nishant Babaria, graduate student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Zhongming Liu, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of biomedical engineering, co-founded MR-Link to further develop and commercialize the technology.

Researchers working on blood test for epilepsy

Researchers in Ireland are looking to develop a blood test for epilepsy.   David Henshall is a professor of molecular physiology and neuroscience at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). He and his team have been studying molecules in the blood that might identify if a person has epilepsy.   Prof Henshall leads the EpimiRNA consortium, which aims to gather data and improve treatment for epilepsy.   The consortium team studied molecules, known as micro RNA, in the blood. They carried out research comparing the levels of these molecules in blood samples of people with and without epilepsy. They found that one type of micro RNA was always different in the blood samples of people with epilepsy.   Prof Henshall has explained that developing a blood test for epilep...

The future of neurology: Transforming patient value through the integration of technology

Unprecedented innovation in technology is rapidly revolutionising human life when it comes to healthcare.   From implementing artificial intelligence (AI), to using robotic nurse assistants, now more than ever healthcare companies are looking to advances in technology to aid their work in developing new treatments, to ultimately deliver better value to patients.   Health technology advances such as wearable devices which track a patients vital signs and monitor for symptoms, have the potential to vastly accelerate clinical development, and in turn advance how we prevent, diagnose early, monitor and potentially even cure severe diseases. And, increasingly we are seeing a convergence of pharmaceutical medicines and innovative technology, with the two combining to support patients i...

Simple blood test could reveal epilepsy risk

A finger-prick blood test to diagnose epilepsy could be available within five years, according to scientists who are using tell-tale molecules called biomarkers to overcome current diagnostic problems and guide treatment.   More than 50 million people are affected by epilepsy worldwide. However, diagnosing the disease remains challenging and treatments are often unsuccessful: only 70% of patients taking anti-epileptic drugs are seizure-free.   “Diagnosis of epilepsy is really difficult,” explained David Henshall, professor of molecular physiology and neuroscience at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. “Seizures are the main clinical symptom for the disease but it is very rare that a doctor will witness the patient having a seizure. This makes epilepsy comp...

British doctors prepare to implant ‘three-parent’ embryos in women

Doctors at Britain’s Newcastle University have selected two women to bear implanted embryos created from genetic material collected from three parents.   Both women carry gene mutations causing a rare condition known as “myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibres,” called “Merrf syndrome” for short.   Mitochondrial Replacement Technology, or MRT, aims to prevent diseases passed through mitochondrial DNA by transferring the mother’s nuclear DNA to a donor egg in which the nucleus has been removed but the mitochondria remains.   Described as “radical therapy” by the UK’s The Guardian, the process was legalized by Britain’s Parliament in 2015 and was met with a huge uproar from religious leaders and ethicists.   Britain’s Newcastle University received a license in March all...

Engineer Locates Brain’s Seizure Onset Zone In Record Time

University of Houston biomedical engineer is reporting a dramatic decrease in the time it takes to detect the seizure onset zone (SOZ), the actual part of the brain that causes seizures, in patients with epilepsy.   Nearly 30 percent of epilepsy patients are resistant to drug therapy, so they have the option of surgery to remove their seizure onset zones. Most of them opt in, according to assistant professor Nuri Ince, noting the improved quality of life for sufferers.

Brain folding sheds light on neurological diseases, researchers find

It may seem unlikely that studying the mechanics of concrete would inform brain research. However, Ellen Kuhl, mechanical engineering professor and head researcher for the Living Matter Lab, started out studying the molecular interactions of concrete and is now applying this understanding to the field of neuroscience, where her research has led to groundbreaking discoveries about neurological disorders.

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