In much the same way that a pacemaker controls heart rhythms, a new implantable device for the brain detects abnormal activity and corrects it – before a person experiences a seizure. the NeuroPace device, the world's only responsive neurostimulation system (RNS), received FDA clearance late last year. Stanford physicians have been studying the technology since 2004, and will implant their first device since FDA approval this fall.
Designed to detect and treat seizures for certain patients with epilepsy, the device continuously monitors brain activity, senses abnormal electrical activity and responds by delivering unnoticeable pulses of electrical stimulation to normalize that activity before an individual experiences seizures. the device essentially "reboots" the portion of the brain where the seizure is originating, thereby interrupting the abnormal electrical activity before it spreads or causes its unwanted effects.
"Essentially, a person could be treated for an imminent seizure without even recognizing it," said Robert Fisher, MD, PHD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences and director of the comprehensive epilepsy program at Stanford. "While this isn't a cure for epilepsy, this technology reduces the number of seizures for some patients. thiscan improve quality of life for patients who previously did not have other satisfactory treatment options."
Of the approximately 65 million people worldwide who have epilepsy, 30 to 40 percent experience uncontrolled seizures. However, not all seizures are suitable for treatment by this device, since the location of the seizures in the brain must be known for it to be applicable.
The new treatment is an option for adults with intractable partial onset seizures, which are localized in one or two parts of the brain and that have not been controlled with two or more antiepileptic drugs.
To learn more about epilepsy treatment options available at Stanford Health Care, please contact Mimi Callanan, RN,at 650-725-6648, option number four. To refer a patient, please call 866-742-4811 or fax 650-320-9443.