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New Medical Device Treats Epilepsy With A Well-Timed Zap

November 17, 2013|Health Psychology

For many years, tiny electrodes strategically placed in the brain have been used to reduce symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Now, similar electrodes appear to be effective for reducing the frequency of seizures that people with epilepsy experience.

The new device could result in reduced need for seizure medications and associated reductions in medication side effects, which can include cognitive and emotional difficulties.

For decades, neuropsychologists have been involved in studying the impact of these kinds of electrodes on neuropsychological functioning, emotional and psychological functioning and overall quality of life.

Check out excerpts from the NPR piece on this topic below:

Imagine a tiny computer embedded under your scalp thats constantly tracking your brain activity and zapping you when it senses something awry.

That might sound like science fiction, but a medical device that does that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an option for people with epilepsy thats resistant to treatment with drugs.

Seizures happen when groups of neurons fire abnormally. The new device, called the RNS Stimulator, is able to detect these problems in the brain and fire electrical signals through implanted wires to stop a seizure from happening.

Implants to treat neurological problems arent completely new. Theyre already being used to treat illnesses such as Parkinsons disease and a condition called dystonia. Neurologists also use another electronic approach called vagal nerve stimulation to treat some forms of epilepsy.

via New Medical Device Treats Epilepsy With A Well-Timed Zap : Shots – Health News : NPR.

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