Disrupting Seizures That Disrupt Life (Video)

Device offers new hope for severe epilepsy

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The seizures that come with epilepsy disrupt life. Never knowing when the next one might strike, even day-to-day activities can be filled with anxiety for the roughly 2.8 million Americans who have this neurological condition.

That may change soon, thanks to a new neurological device.

Relief through technology

Medications and other treatments help many people get seizures under control. But about 30 percent of American patients with this condition have intractable epilepsy, a disorder in which treatment fails to control seizures. Intractable epilepsy not only interferes with life — it can destroy life. In people with frequent seizures that are poorly controlled with medications, the death rate is approximately 1 in 150 per year.

The device detects triggers of an impending seizure and delivers short electrical pulses to interrupt them before symptoms occur.

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The new device tackles these tough cases. Surgically implanted under the surface of the skull, the device detects triggers of an impending seizure and delivers short electrical pulses to interrupt them before symptoms occur.

The device gained the unanimous backing of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) neurological device advisory panel in 2013. After more than 15 years of development and testing and three clinical trials, the pivotal clinical study reported a 38 percent reduction in seizure frequency in the treatment group compared to a 17 percent reduction in the control group. The results get even better with time, too.

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