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Implantable Device Provides New Treatment Option for Epilepsy Patients

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.

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.

Device Shows Long-term Efficacy for Intractable Seizures

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.

NeuroPace Epileptic Seizure Control System: Interview with Dr. Martha Morrell, CMO of NeuroPace

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?

Study shows continuous electrical stimulation suppresses seizures in patients with epilepsy

When surgery and medication don’t help people with epilepsy, electrical stimulation of the brain has been a treatment of last resort. Unfortunately, typical approaches, such as vagal nerve stimulation or responsive nerve stimulation, rarely stop seizures altogether. But a new Mayo Clinic study in JAMA Neurology shows that seizures were suppressed in patients treated with continuous electrical stimulation. Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted. In the study, 13 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy were deemed unsuitable for resective surgery, which removes a portion of the brain — usually about the size of a golf ball — that was causing seizures. When patients are evaluated for surgery, a grid of electrical contacts ...

Reducing epileptic seizures with deep brain stimulation

As her Emory doctors told Paula Moreland how they were proposing to treat her seizures, her eyes grew wide. Moreland’s mother, who was with her at the appointment, said, “Just listen to them, babe.” A surgeon would implant an electrical stimulation device deep within her brain. The device would deliver current to calm the storms of signals that would sometimes erupt and cause her to lose consciousness. Moreland had already seen several neurologists and tried a variety of anti-seizure drugs. At one point, she was taking seven different medications. “They didn’t seem to work, and they made me sick,” she says. “I went to talk with one doctor, and he threw up his hands. It was like he was saying, ‘I give up.’ ” Epilepsy seemed to have...

Direct brain responsive neurostimulator reduces seizures, improves quality of life

Piotr Olejniczak, MD, PhD, LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Neurology and Director of the Epilepsy Center, contributed to a study of the long-term effectiveness of the first direct brain responsive neurostimulator for partial onset, or focal, seizures that cannot be controlled with medication. The study found that responsive direct cortical stimulation reduces seizures and improves quality of life over an average of 5.4 years. The study is published in the February 24, 2015, issue of the journal, Neurology. The results are part of the Long-Term Treatment (LTT) Study, an ongoing seven-year multicenter prospective open-label study to evaluate the long-term efficacy and safety of the RNS® System. The technology, FDA-approved for adults with focal (in one part of the brain) seizures, contin...

RNS – The “Smart Implant” that Helps Control Epilepsy

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...

First RNS Patient in the South Doing Well 30 Days Later

Neurologists implant neurostimulator in brain to control seizures It has been 30 days since neurologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham turned on the neurostimulator implanted in Sarah Conner’s brain to control her seizures. In that short time, she can already say, “I’m doing pretty good.” Conner, 24, has suffered from seizures for 10 years. In June, she became the first patient in the Southeast to receive a new device called a responsive neurostimulator since its approval by the Federal Drug Administration last year. UAB neurosurgeon Kristen Riley, M.D., implanted the RNS system, developed by NeuroPace, into Conner’s brain. It includes an electrical generator, about the size of a flash drive, which is implanted in the skull. Electrodes are run to ...


Researchers demonstrate neuronal effects of novel treatment method for neurological diseases

Can Epilepsy Be Cured? Long-term Outcomes After Seizure Surgery

Seizure Control in Epilepsy Antiepileptic drugs control seizures in 60%-70% of people with epilepsy.[1] The remaining 30%-40% resort to other therapies, such as the vagus nerve stimulator (VNS); responsive neurostimulation (RNS); deep brain stimulation (DBS), which is approved in Europe but not in the United States; ketogenic and Atkins diets; alternative and complementary therapies; and epilepsy surgery. Seizure control is essential, because the potential consequences of chronic epilepsy include psychological dysfunction, social stigma, inability to drive, lower rates of employment, reduced quality of life, and physical injury, as well as increased mortality from drowning and other accidents, status epilepticus, and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Treatment Options Although V...

Batteries in Implant Devices Could Soon Be Recharged From Outside of the Body

Stanford University electrical engineers have invented a way to wirelessly recharge the batteries of medically implanted devices from outside the body. Such an invention removes a major impediment towards the use of medical implant devices, and has the potential to open up the field of “electroceuticals,” which would treat illness using electronic devices rather than drug-based therapies. Even current medical implant devices such as pacemakers and nerve stimulator devices could stand to be re-invented as the out-of-body recharging technology would allow bulky batteries to be miniaturized. Medical implants that run off of electricity are becoming increasingly commonplace within modern medicine. Each year in the United States over 100,000 pacemakers are implanted as a treatment for cardiac a...

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