Newly approved device can stop a seizure in its tracks

A newly approved device reacts on demand– it can stop a seizure in its tracks and helps epilepsy patients gain a better qaulity of life.

Barbara Kahler, Epilepsy patient: “When I was 21 i had a grand mal seizure while watching TV.”

Medications kept Barbara seizure free for years, but in her mid-40’s, the episodes returned and for 20 years she struggled to find a treatment that worked for her.

Barbara: “All of my seizures come from a single spot. The problem is they’re right in the center of my speech and memory center.”

That left Barbara ineligible for surgery to remove the abnormal area in her brain. But she did qualify for a new treatment.

Dr. Marvin Rossi, Epilepsy Neurologist, Rush University Medical Center: “This basically allows us to go into those centers without harming them and basically keeping them in some normal working function.”

This is Neuropace – a brain stimulator doctors place close to the origin of a patient’s seizures. It rests under the scalp on top of a protective plate.

It replaces a very small portion of skull.

“Two wires are connected to the device and those wires go into the brain or on the surface near the seizure origin.”

Dr. Marvin Rossi and his team have been investigating the device for a decade.

“It’s a device that will fire on demand when a seizure occurs. The goal is to prevent the seizure from spreading throughout the brain.”

Like a defibrillator detects unusual electrical activity and shocks the heart, Neuropace senses the onset of a seizure in the brain, then fires stimulation therapy.

“Basically it stops it dead in its tracks …”

The process starts with a customized road map of a patient’s epileptic circuit – or the path a seizure takes as it travels through the brain.

“If we can connect to that highway we can actually spread current throughout the epileptic circuit and hopefully maximize the stability of the brain.”

“The device tracks any seizure activity that still occurs. In Barbara’s case, it’s mild compared to the eight she had each day before Neuropace.”

Barbara: “It dramatically changed my life from probably having to go into a nursing home to being able to be, nobody knows i have seizures. I’m basically normal.”

The Neuropace device has been shown to reduce seizures in patients with medication-resistant epilepsy by as much as 50 percent. And the team at rush helped develop the planning system

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