System detects and treats epileptic seizures
PALO ALTO, CA (June 10, 2014) — Physicians at Stanford Hospital
& Clinics now offer an implantable therapeutic device, designed to
detect and treat seizures, for certain patients with epilepsy. The new
treatment is an option for adults with intractable partial onset
seizures, which are localized in one or two parts of the brain and
that have not been controlled with two or more antiepileptic drugs.
The device is the world's only responsive neurostimulation system (RNS
System) and received FDA clearance on November 14, 2013. Stanford
physicians have been studying the technology since 2004, and in June
2014, will implant their first device since approval.
The device continuously monitors brain electrical activity, senses
abnormal electrical activity and responds by delivering unnoticeable
pulses of electrical stimulation to normalize that activity before an
individual experiences seizures.
"Essentially, a person could be treated for an imminent seizure
without even recognizing it," said Robert Fisher,
MD, PhD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences and
director of the comprehensive epilepsy program at Stanford.
"While this isn't a cure for epilepsy, this technology reduces
the number of seizures for some patients. This can improve quality of
life for patients who previously did not have other satisfactory
Of the approximately 65 million people worldwide who have epilepsy,
30-40 percent experience uncontrolled seizures. However, not all
seizures are suitable for treatment by this device, since the location
of the seizures in the brain must be known for it to be applicable.
The battery-powered and microprocessor-controlled device is placed
within the skull and beneath the scalp. It is connected to one or two
leads that are placed within the brain or rest on the brain's surface
in the area of the seizure focus. The procedure doesn't involve any
removal of brain tissue.
Physicians personalize therapy for each patient by non-invasively
programming the detection and stimulation settings of the device. At
home, patients can monitor and transmit recordings of their brain
electrical activity and other information. The patient's physician can
review and analyze this information over the internet between the
patient's office appointments.
Stanford Hospital & Clinics' epilepsy
team consists of epileptologists, epilepsy surgeons,
neuroradiologists, neuropsychologists, neuropsychiatrists and nurses
who provide care for more than 4,000 patients annually. Designated by
the National Association of Epilepsy Centers as a Level 4 center, its
highest distinction, the Stanford
Comprehensive Epilepsy Program is ranked among the top
comprehensive centers in the nation.
The RNS System is manufactured by NeuroPace, Inc. Martha Morrell,
MD, clinical professor of neurology and neurological sciences at
Stanford, has worked on the development and testing of the device
since 1998 but in compliance with Stanford's conflict of interest
policy will not prescribe the device. RNS System implant procedures
are covered by most insurance companies. To learn more about epilepsy
treatment options available at Stanford Hospital & Clinics and if
this device may be right for you, please contact Mimi Callanan, RN, at
650-725-6648, option number four.