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Researchers Develop An Improved Brain Stimulator That Offers Hope For Individuals With Uncontrolled Epilepsy

Update Date: Apr 23, 2014 09:03 AM EDT
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US Food and Drug Administration has approved a device that has been shown to reduce seizures in patients with medication-resistant epilepsy by as much as 50 percent. 

At first the device needs to be coupled with an innovative electrode placement planning system developed by physicians at Rush. It was observed that the device afterwards facilitated the complete elimination of seizures in nearly half of the implanted Rush patients enrolled in the decade-long trials.

Researchers believe its a breakthrough as nearly 400,000 people in the US living with epilepsy will be benefitted whose seizures cant be controlled with medications. 

"Many people with epilepsy have scores of unpredictable seizures every day that make it impossible for them to drive, work or even get a good night's sleep," said Dr. Marvin Rossi, co-principal investigator of the NeuroPace Pivotal Clinical Trial and assistant professor of neurology at the Rush Epilepsy Center, in the press release.

The device is surgically placed underneath the scalp within the skull and connected to electrodes that are strategically placed within the brain at a place where seizures originate. The set up also equips a programmed computer chip whose job is to communicate with the system for recording the data and help regulate responsive stimulation. 

 "This device is also being used at Rush as a foundation and inspiration for building cutting-edge hybrid stimulation therapy-drug molecule delivery systems," said Rossi.

"Devices that treat epilepsy may offer new hope to patients when medication is ineffective and resection is not an option," added Rossi in the press release. "Not long ago, it was highly unlikely that these patients would ever be free of their seizures. Now, several of our Rush patients with this device are actually able to drive, lower or even eliminate their medications and aren't as limited as they once were. There is no doubt that quality of life of the majority of our implanted patients is significantly improved."

According to the reports by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, epilepsy affected nearly 2.3 million adults and around 450,000 children under the age of 17 in US.

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