Two new treatments are being developed for people with epilepsy, that may offer hope of better seizure control in the future.
The first treatment is a ‘pacemaker’ for the brain, which can record electrical activity. The second treatment is stem cell derived neurons that may cut recurrent seizures.
The treatments have yet to be tested in humans, but the teams are hoping to test it soon. However, it is still a long way off from being available to the public.
The ‘pacemaker’ records the normal electrical current of the brain continually and if it notices a change of rhythm, immediately fires a stimulating charge to encourage the pulse back to normal.
The device is made up of two tiny arrays of electrodes which sit inside the skull and link to a circuit board. The chips would be embedded in a chassis located outside the head. Each chip could monitor electrical activity from 64 electrodes located in the brain.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is already used for people with epilepsy, but the electrical signatures that precede a seizure or tremor can be very subtle and the frequency and strength of stimulation required to prevent them is tricky to determine. This means it can take years to fine-tune.
However, the new device, dubbed Wand (Wireless Artifact-Free Neuromodulation Device) is constantly listening for disruptions in the electrical current so it can make instant adjustments.