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Technology

Insight without incision: Advances in noninvasive brain imaging offers improvements to epilepsy surgery

About a third of epilepsy sufferers require treatment through surgery. To check for severe epilepsy, clinicians use a surgical procedure called electrocorticography (ECoG). An ECoG maps a section of brain tissue to help clinicians identify areas damaged by seizures. “But ECoG requires taking a part of your skull out and putting electrodes directly on brain tissue,” said Professor Pulkit Grover, a professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. An ECoG thus leaves a patient prone to infection. To find an alternative to ECoG, Grover’s team investigated making the non-invasive electroencephalogram (EEG) more effective by increasing electrode density and improving inference algorithms. He and the team recently presented their...

Stem cell discovery could aid in developing treatments to control epileptic convulsions

A new line of human stem cells shows promise for one day advancing treatment for epileptic seizures. As reported in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM), the cells are designed to deliver adenosine – which calms down overexcited neurons and protects them from damage — to the central nervous system (CNS). The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Bonn and the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Mannheim. Adenosine is a powerful regulator that helps the body maintain its inner balance. When an injury occurs to the CNS, it releases high levels of adenosine, which calms down the overexcited neurons and alleviates neurological damage caused by stroke, trauma, reduced oxygen, pain and, in particular, epileptic seizures. “But attempts to systemically deliver adeno...

Soundwaves and viruses used to ‘switch off’ memory formation

Tool could open up the brain to precision DNA-editing techniques which allow cellular functions to be turned on or changed at will Researchers have shown it’s possible to temporarily block the brain from forming new memories using a combination of sound waves, viruses and drugs. Using ultrasound blasts California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers have been able to temporarily open the brain’s protective barrier to treatments, where usually surgery would be required. In this way they hope it could one day be possible to non-invasively manage epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions that currently rely on going under the knife. However in the shorter term it is more likely the advance, dubbed “acoustically targeted chemogenetics” in the journal ...

Prediction method for epileptic seizures developed

Epileptic seizures strike with little warning and nearly one third of people living with epilepsy are resistant to treatment that controls these attacks. More than 65 million people worldwide are living with epilepsy.

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...