JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 11, 2004 -- Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are enrolling participants in a clinical trial to determine if a responsive neurotransmitter surgically implanted in the brain can suppress seizures in patients who have epilepsy. Cardiac pacemakers, once thought of as novelties and medical miracles, are commonplace today. This neurostimulator, a pacemaker for the brain, can be implanted in some epilepsy patients who have not responded to treatment.
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain that causes recurrent seizures and affects nearly 3 million people in the United States. Anti-epileptic medication can leave most patients free from seizures or lessen their frequency and intensity. Those who do not respond to medications may be candidates for surgical removal of the brain tissue responsible for triggering the seizure. In most cases, these patients still require medication to control seizures. The neurostimulator would eliminate the need to remove brain tissue from these patients.
Neurosurgeons implant the self-contained device, not much bigger than a watch, under the scalp and connect it to wires placed in the brain. The neurostimulator constantly monitors the brain's electrical activity for onset of seizure activity. When seizure activity is detected, the neurostimulator delivers mild electrical stimulation through the wires in an attempt to stop the seizure before the patient experiences symptoms.
Individuals who continue to have frequent seizures despite the use of pharmacological therapies, and in whom physicians can determine where the seizures arise in the brain, may be able to participate. Qualified participants are being enrolled in a preliminary study for a minimum of three months.
Participants keep a seizure diary and see a study physician each month. If the participant meets the seizure frequency criteria for three consecutive months, he or she is eligible to receive the implanted neurostimulator. After the device is implanted, participants are followed for two years. Seizure type and frequency are assessed monthly, and physical and emotional health will be assessed regularly.
Mayo Clinic Jacksonville is one of 13 U.S. medical centers conducting this clinical trial. Those interested in participating will need to undergo a comprehensive Mayo Clinic epilepsy evaluation before being considered as a candidate for this study. For a Mayo Clinic Jacksonville appointment, call (904) 953-0323.
-- 30 --
Mayo Clinic is a multispecialty medical clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. The staff includes 328 physicians working in more than 40 specialties to provide diagnosis, treatment and surgery. Patients who need hospitalization are admitted to nearby St. Luke's Hospital, a 289-bed Mayo facility. Mayo Clinics also are located in Rochester, Minn., and Scottsdale, Ariz. Visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/news for all the news from Mayo Clinic.
Cite This Page: