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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...

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.

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.

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.

Amazing tiny implantable device to study epilepsy!

Cambridge, MA based research lab Draper says it hopes to make a newly developed implantable electronic device available to researchers to study the effects on disorders ranging from epilepsy to Parkinson’s disease.   The device, the first radio wave-powered neuromodulation device to be built so small, is 2.5 millimeters long — five times smaller than other radio-powered wireless stimulators. The device is able to electronically stimulate nerves to help patients suffering from nervous system disorders control their symptoms.

Electronic ‘Nose’ Offers Rapid Epilepsy Diagnosis

An electronic “nose” that measures various compounds in exhaled breath reliably distinguishes patients with epilepsy from controls, new research shows. The noninvasive diagnostic tool is faster, less costly, and less invasive than electroencephalography (EEG) — the standard technique to diagnose epilepsy. Patients simply insert a small hand-held device into their mouth and breath into it for 5 minutes.

Researchers succeed with epilepsy early-warning system

A brain implant promises to transform the lives of persons with epilepsy by alerting them in time to avoid danger and potentially prevent seizures.   In a merger of maths, mach­ine learning and neuroscience, Melbourne, Austrailia researchers say they have proven the viability of a warning system that interprets the unique and ever-changing brainwave patterns that precede attacks.  

Innovative microscope poised to propel optogenetics studies

A newly developed microscope is providing scientists with a greatly enhanced tool to study how neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease affect neuron communication.  This new microscope has more than 100 times larger field of view for studying brain activity.   A newly developed microscope is providing scientists with a greatly enhanced tool to study how neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease affect neuron communication. The microscope is optimized to perform studies using optogenetic techniques, a relatively new technology that uses light to control and image neurons genetically modified with light-sensitive proteins.

Pioneering research reveals how altered brain networks can lead to seizures

An international team of scientists, led by mathematicians from the University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute, have developed a ground-breaking new method that can identify regions of brain tissue most likely to generate seizures in people with epilepsy. The innovative new method, which utilizes mathematical modelling, offers the potential to complement existing clinical approaches and could lead to enhanced surgical outcomes. The new research is published in leading scientific journal, PLOS Computational Biology. Epilepsy, which affects around 1 in 100 people worldwide, is predominantly treated by a range of medications. However, in around a third of cases people do not experience adequate seizure control through drugs and alternative therapies are sought. In some instances su...

Epilepsy biomarkers pave way for noninvasive diagnosis, better treatments

Researchers have identified a unique metabolic signature associated with epileptic brain tissue that causes seizures. The chemical biomarker can be detected noninvasively using technology based on magnetic resonance imaging. It will allow physicians to precisely identify small regions of abnormal brain tissue in early-stage epilepsy patients that can’t be detected today using current technology. The biomarker could also be used to localize epileptic brain regions for therapeutic removal without the need for additional surgery.

Suppressing epileptic seizures via Anderson localization

More than 50 million people of all ages suffer from epilepsy, otherwise known as seizure disorder, the fourth most common neurological disease in the world. Patients diagnosed with epilepsy often experience recurrent seizures triggered by the firing of a large collection of neurons in the brain. This ultimately generates a high-energy wave that spreads across the surface of the brain, resulting in numerous physical effects such as erratic body shaking, unconsciousness, exhaustion, and pain.

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