Richard Pollitt was at the end of his rope after years of suffering regular seizures, with some lasting five minutes and preventing him from working and enjoying his favorite pastimes. Desperate for relief after medications did not work, Pollitt had a small battery-powered device implanted in his skull to control seizures. Now he rarely has them. Photo Credit: Houston Methodist After experiencing four to five seizures a week for six years, Richard Pollitt, left, had a device implanted in his brain to help prevent seizures. The device provides data that allows his physician, Houston Methodist neurologist Amit Verma, M.D., right, to track the activity of his brain and the device to improve care.
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?
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...