Space considerations in printÂ forced usÂ to slim down the feature on deep brain stimulation for drug resistant epilepsy, which appears in the Spring 2015 issue of Emory Medicine.Â While I encourage you to please read ourÂ story profilingÂ playwright Paula Moreland, here are some take-away points:
*Surgery is a viable option for many patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, but not all of them, because the regions of the brain where the seizures start canÂ have important functions. (Look for an upcoming post describing a patient I met for whom theÂ surgical option was helpful.)
*Deep brain stimulation can reduce seizure frequency and improve quality of life for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.
*In those trials, despite differences inÂ how electrical current is applied and what part of the brain is targeted, a common pattern emerged: gradual reduction of seizure frequency over several months.Â Helpful reviewÂ on the topic from Emory neurosurgeon Robert Gross + colleagues.
*Although electrical stimulation for epilepsy is an old idea (some credit for bringing it forward goes to Irving Cooper), neuroscientists are still figuring out how it works.
*New technologies offer opportunities to learn more and make a promising procedure better.