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Surprising Science

Pioneer Epilepsy Treatment Uses Electrodes in Brain

A new procedure that involves inserting electrodes into the brain shows promise in reducing seizures for people with epilepsy, thereby improving their quality of life.

What’s the Latest Development?

A pioneering operation–known as deep brain stimulation–is reducing seizures in epileptic patients, helping improve their quality of life. Epilepsy is often controlled via medication, but the side effects can be severe. A third of patients don’t respond to drugs or can’t have surgery to remove the part of the brain causing epilepsy.

What’s the Big Idea?

The new procedure involves an operation to insert two leads with titanium electrodes into the brain. Next, a titanium-cased battery is inserted under the skin in the chest and connected to the leads. Electrical impulses to the brain help reduce or stop epileptic seizures. Some people experience an improvement just from the insertion of the electrodes, even before they are connected to the battery.

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