What is deep brain stimulation?
Deep brain stimulation is a method of treating seizures that involves the implantation of a device that sends electrical pulses to specific areas of the brain where the seizures are occurring.
How does deep brain stimulation prevent seizures from occurring?
When the brain is functioning normally, nerve cells carry chemical and electrical messages to and from parts of the body in a normal, orderly fashion. During a seizure, the nerve cells misfire, causing a burst of uncontrolled electrical activity in a particular area of the brain. This electrical storm causes a seizure. The electrical pulses from the deep brain stimulation system block signals from the nerve cells that trigger a seizure. The goal of deep brain stimulation is to reduce the number and severity of seizures.
Who is a candidate for deep brain stimulation therapy for epilepsy?
To be a candidate for deep brain stimulation, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have partial-onset seizures (with or without generalization)
- Have tried three or more anti-seizure medications and have not experienced a reduction in seizures
- Have had an average of over six seizures per month for the last 3 months (with no more than 30 days between seizures)