FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Epilepsy affects three million people every day. For many of them, it’s something that can be treated, but not cured. Now a new FDA-approved device, called Neuropace, is changing the lives of some people living with epilepsy.
Krystle Thrasher is a young mom with a great outlook, but the past few years haven’t been easy. Four years ago she was diagnosed with epilepsy, having up to 20 seizures a month.
“What would happen when I would have the seizures, I would get really tired and need to lie down,” described Thrasher.
After countless doctors and medications, Thrasher was losing hope. Then, she met Tarek Zakaria, M.D., a neurologist at Memorial Healthcare System in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The Neuropace is like a pacemaker, but for your brain.
Dr. Zakaria told Ivanhoe, “Through the device we’re able to monitor the brain activity. We’re able to screen this activity, detect any changes in the brain waves, and be able to respond to any changes right there to terminate or stop the seizure before it progresses into a full-blown seizure.” (Read full Interview)
As if stopping a seizure before it happens isn’t enough, the technology gets even better.
Thrasher can record her brainwave activity and send it to Dr. Zakaria anytime. Months after having the Neuropace implanted, Thrasher has been seizure free.
Thrasher said, “One of the best things is I have my son and we didn’t know if we’d ever be able to have a child because of it. I did not see a light at the end of tunnel for a very long time, but I see it and it’s there.”
While this worked for Thrasher, not everyone with epilepsy is a candidate for Neuropace.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Christina Nicholson, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Brent Sucher, Editor; Michelle Sens, Videographer.
MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS – RESEARCH SUMMARY
TOPIC: Epilepsy and Neuropace
REPORT: MB #4157
BACKGROUND: Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder. Someone that has epilepsy will have recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Epilepsy affects three million people every day and the condition affects people of all ages. While the seizures may be traced back to a brain injury or genetics, the cause is often unknown. The cause of epilepsy is unknown in six out of ten cases and many people with the condition experience more than one type of seizure and may have other symptoms of neurological problems as well. A person is diagnosed with epilepsy if they have one or more seizures that were not caused by some known and reversible medical condition. Epilepsy can affect one’s safety, work, relationships, and driving.
TREATMENT: Unfortunately, epilepsy cannot be cured. However, for many people, epilepsy is a chronic disorder than can be treated. For about 70 percent of those diagnosed, seizures may be controlled with medicine. Medicine is usually the first line therapy and regarded as the primary way in which seizures are controlled. There are many different medications for epilepsy, often referred to as anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) or anti-seizure drugs. Some medicines tend to work better for certain types of seizures than others. These medications do not address the problem causing the epilepsy, and only work to stop seizures from occurring. For those whose seizures cannot be controlled by medication, surgery is an alternative option. At least two single drugs and a combination of two or more drugs should be tried before surgery becomes an option. Recently, surgery is being considered sooner since studies have shown that the earlier surgery is performed, the better the outcome. The most common type of surgery for epilepsy is called resection, where a surgeon removes the area of the brain that causes the patient’s seizures. The goal of these surgeries is to cure the patient’s symptoms. A second, less common type of epilepsy surgery involves interrupting nerve pathways that allow seizures to spread. These surgeries are thought of as providing relief, but not a cure.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Through a new device called the Neuropace, doctors are able to monitor brain activity and detect and respond to any changes in brain waves to terminate or stop a seizure before it progresses into a full blown seizure. It is a small, battery-powered device that is surgically implanted into the skull and allows patients able to record brainwave activity and send it to their doctor at any time. Since no brain tissue is removed, it can be less risker than other surgical options. The Neuropace device can be removed at any time, but those who do have the device implanted should not have an MRI due to safety concern with the strong magnetic fields.
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