Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Pacemaker: UCLA Develops Unique Nerve-stimulation Epilepsy Treatment

Date:
July 26, 2006
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
A unique nerve-stimulation treatment for epilepsy developed at UCLA offers a potential new alternative for tens of thousands of individuals unable to control their seizures with medication and ineligible for surgery. A study published in the July edition of the peer-reviewed journal Epilepsia reports that four of seven subjects who used an external stimulator for at least three months in a pilot human clinical trial enjoyed a 50 percent or better reduction in seizure frequency.

A unique nerve-stimulation treatment for epilepsy developed at UCLA offers a potential new alternative for tens of thousands of individuals unable to control their seizures with medication and ineligible for surgery.

Developed by neuroscientists at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Valencia, Calif.-based Advanced Bionics Corp., trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS) uses a "brain pacemaker" to stimulate a nerve involved in inhibiting seizures.

The trigeminal nerve extends into the brain from the face and forehead, and is known to play a role in seizure inhibition. The stimulator and electrodes used to transmit an electrical current to the nerve can be worn externally or implanted.

A study published in the July edition of the peer-reviewed journal Epilepsia reports that four of seven subjects who used an external stimulator for at least three months in a pilot human clinical trial enjoyed a 50 percent or better reduction in seizure frequency.

"Most people with chronic epilepsy who have continuing seizures are drug-resistant," said Dr. Christopher DeGiorgio, vice chair and professor in residence of neurology at UCLA, and co-developer of TNS and lead author of the study. "In addition, anti-seizure drugs can have significant side effects on behavior, thinking and alertness. Women taking anti-seizure drugs and their unborn children are at special risk because of the effect of these drugs on fetal growth and development.

"For all of these reasons, we need to find non-drug alternative treatments," DeGiorgio said. "The results of our pilot study support further investigation into the safety and efficacy of TNS for epilepsy."

Forty percent of the 2.5 million people in the United States with epilepsy have poorly controlled seizures. Recurrent seizures lead to social isolation, unemployment, inability to drive and injuries from falls and burns, as well as drowning. Approved treatment options include a variety of medications, neurosurgery that involves removing a small portion of the brain responsible for the seizures, and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

Despite the introduction of multiple new antiepileptic drugs since the 1990s, as many as one million individuals with epilepsy across the country fail to benefit from drug treatment. While surgery can be effective, many patients are either not ideal candidates or lack access to one of the few specialized epilepsy centers, such as UCLA, where surgery is offered.

VNS treatment has helped thousands who could not control their seizures with medication and were ineligible for surgery. TNS, however, holds several potential advantages over VNS, DeGiorgio said.

Unlike VNS, the TNS stimulator can be tested externally to gauge results before implanting the device. Patients treated in the clinical trial wore the stimulator on their belt. Wires from the stimulator were passed under clothing and connected to electrodes attached to the face by adhesive. The electrodes could be covered by a cap or hat.

In addition, while VNS stimulates only one side of the brain, TNS stimulates both sides, a theoretical advantage that will require more testing to validate and quantify.

The cost of an external TNS stimulator is about $180. The monthly retail cost of batteries and electrodes is $150 to $170.

Originally tested in animal studies by researchers at Duke University, TNS was developed and used for the first time in humans at UCLA in the recently completed pilot study outlined in Epilepsia. The research is being conducted using a grant from Advanced Bionics.

Study co-investigators were Dr. Alan Shewmon, clinical professor of neurology at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and chief of neurology at Olive View Medical Center, and Dr. Todd Whitehurst of Advanced Bionics. Neither DeGiorgio nor Shewmon have a financial interest in Advanced Bionics.

DeGiorgio is currently enrolling patients in a follow-up study that will seek to extend the findings to 25 patients. A third study will examine the impact of implanting TNS with an electrode under the skin (just beneath the eyebrow) of patients who respond to the external stimulator.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Brain Pacemaker: UCLA Develops Unique Nerve-stimulation Epilepsy Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060726091714.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2006, July 26). Brain Pacemaker: UCLA Develops Unique Nerve-stimulation Epilepsy Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060726091714.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Brain Pacemaker: UCLA Develops Unique Nerve-stimulation Epilepsy Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060726091714.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins