Epilepsy Talk

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) — Reducing Seizures By As Much As 50% | October 26, 2022

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been called “a promising therapy for epilepsy,” as reported by the BBC.

And for those suffering from medically refractory epilepsy — who are not candidates for resective brain surgery — that’s great news.

This seizure-interrupting device, also called a responsive neurostimulator system, is for those with temporal lobe epilepsy, bi-temporal epilepsy, and neocortical epilepsy.

Similar to the VNS, it’s minimally invasive and consists of implanting tiny electrodes in the brain that release electrical pulses, reducing the frequency of partial seizures and secondarily generalized seizures.

The therapy uses a pacemaker-like device, implanted in the brain to deliver a small amount of electricity when it detects the onset of a seizure.

The device works by combining three components:

A lead, composed of a thin wire with electrode contacts on it, is implanted surgically into the brain.

(Sometimes only one side of the brain is treated, and other times, two brain leads are implanted, one on the right side and one on the left.)

This pacemaker-like generator, is placed under the skin in the chest region, and is programmed to deliver the electrical stimulation to the brain lead.

A connecting cable, tunneled under the scalp and neck, links the brain lead to the generator.

The programming computer, then allows the doctor to adjust the stimulation intensity and rate, along with other settings from outside the body.

Settings are adjusted to maximize benefit and minimize any side-effects related to the stimulation.

It has the ability to constantly analyze brain activity, then deliver the correct electrical stimulation.

Aryeh Taub of Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences says, “We duplicate the function of brain tissue onto a silicon chip and transfer it back to the brain,” explaining that the electrodes will pick up brain waves and transfer these directly to the chip.

The chip then does the computation that would have been done in the damaged tissue, and feeds the information back into the brain, prompting functions that would have otherwise gotten lost.”

He believes that, in the future, an interface with the ability to restore behavioral or motor function, lost due to tissue damage is achievable, especially with the help of their new electrode coating.

Clinical studies have found that it is generally safe, with the adverse effects being transient and mild.

One of the advantages of deep brain stimulation is that it can be switched off — if side-effects appear — and the entire procedure is reversible.

At this point, approximately 30,000 people worldwide are currently using deep brain stimulation to treat neurological or psychological conditions. And DBS is only the beginning.

But, several fundamental questions remain to be resolved. They include where in the brain the stimulus should be delivered, and what type of stimulation would be most effective.

One goal of this research is to combine the beneficial aspects of electrical stimulation with seizure detection technology, in an implantable responsive stimulator.

And the results are encouraging.

One recent study showed that deep brain stimulation demonstrated significant and sustained seizure reduction at five years!

Overall, researchers say more than half of those treated experienced a reduction in epileptic seizures of at least 50 percent.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that DBS therapy aims to reduce seizures but not necessarily to cure epilepsy.

But it’s a great start to a promising future!

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1 Comment »

  1. This all sounds good, but could maybe be better of these neurologists would use their ears 1000X’s more than they use their mouth. But when you are a kid, with NO authority about telling a doctor how you feel, you are then a the top step of the devil’s dungeon going down to his pit over the future years, as doctors take over & have control of your life. SO EVERYONE THOUGHT THAT WAS GOING TO BE THE CASE WITH ME. NO WAY, not when I always knew how my seizures seems to have happened in over 99% of the time I got them, as around 30 years old I knew what I knew but was determined to know more & I did find out more what drugs & other things all created the seizures I was having for over 61 years. This info says nothing about a present persons brain chemistry BEFORE any DBS, VNS or an RNS gets attached & added on to a persons life. If 50 to 95% of all people that have seizures, have similar problems with GLUTAMATE & GABA levels being normal in their brain, then THERE is what’s needed to be corrected 1st before any DBS or whatever gadget they get told that they MUST HAVE, compared to taking the 50MG tablet of XCOPRI that will & does level the balances of GLUTAMATE & GABA in the brain. It has now been 1 year ago since my last GRAND MAL SEIZURE & I have been on XCOPRI now for 50 weeks. Think I am crazy, then drink all the diet drinks, junk foods with the ASPARTAMES & MGS’s, NITRITES & NITRATES, which is why maybe these devices never can do any better than what they can do,, BUT XCOPRI the 50MG tablet only is the best & safest to take, up to 6 a day, which I only take 3 all at the PM hour before bed or at bedtime, where I know my brain chemistry is 1000X’s better than it was 1 year ago today. I take real vitamin supplements from GARDEN OF LIFE, & a few others I will not name. I have been saying & telling neurologists for decades & at the NIH when I went there for 5 years, as I guess they thought I was practicing for my job on the comedy hour network, as I guess someone maybe took me serious for once after 61 years, as they were 2 years late asking me last year if I wanted to try XCOPRI, as my brain TOLD ME VERY LOUDLY what tablet of the 50MG tablet only I would be able to take. The rest of them all have ALUMINUM IN THE TABLETS and no brain needs that, which it can be found in ALL generic form of neurological drugs AND AED’s on the market. But to have this ALUMINUM in BRAND NAMES like XCOPRI except for the 50 MG tablet is scary as ALUMINUM will never slow down seizures or seizure activity. THE BRAIN NEVER LIES when you know how you listen to it & LOOK BACK what all you have swallowed & digested from any drink, food or drugs. Does not take a rocket scientist or Albert Einstein to figure it out as Einstein had epilepsy.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by James D — November 8, 2022 @ 10:30 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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