Percept: Smart Device for Epilepsy and Movement Disorders


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— A team of neurosurgeons at Yale University are the first in the country to implant a newly approved deep brain stimulation, or DBS, device into a patient with epilepsy. The new device is called Percept and it’s the first system designed to give personalized feedback.

Doctors implant DBS devices in patients to control seizures or the symptoms of Parkinson’s. The DBS is a small, pacemaker-like device that goes under the skin, in the chest, with leads that go to a targeted area of the brain to provide stimulation. But now, this can go one step beyond.

Jason Gerrard, MD, PhD, chief of functional neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine explained, “What if we could record brain signals from the same electrodes that were doing the brain stimulation?”

(Read Full Interview)

A new neurostimulation device, called Percept with brain sense technology, allows doctors to track patients’ brain signals and match them with a patients’ symptoms or side effects. Right now, a patient has a remote-control device to adjust the stimulation when symptoms start. Doctor Gerrard says the goal is to someday “close the loop” so treatment is automatic.

“So, the patient doesn’t have to think about it. In fact, before they even know that they’re wearing off, the device knows, and it can adjust the stimulation accordingly,” elaborated Dr. Gerrard.

A new and improved device making life better for people with seizures and movement disorders.

The US  Food and Drug Administration approved the new Percept device in June. It’s not only for use in epilepsy patients and those with Parkinson’s, but people with essential tremor, dystonia, and OCD.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:        MB #4816

EPILEPSY: Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of recurring and unprovoked seizures. Epileptic seizures may be related to a brain injury or a family tendency, but the cause is often unknown. Many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may have other neurological problems as well. Sometimes EEG testing, clinical history, family history, and outlook are similar with people who have epilepsy. In these situations, their condition can be defined as a specific epilepsy syndrome. The electrical events that produce the symptoms of a seizure occur in the brain. The location of the event, how it spreads, how much of the brain is affected and how long it lasts all have profound effects. All these factors determine the character of a seizure and its impact on the individual.


DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF EPILEPSY: Epilepsy is diagnosed if a patient has two unprovoked seizures that were not caused by some known and reversible medical condition like alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar. To diagnose your condition, a doctor will review your symptoms and medical history. The doctor may order several tests to diagnose epilepsy and determine the cause of seizures. The evaluation may include a neurological exam and blood tests. They may also suggest tests to detect brain abnormalities, such as an Electroencephalogram (EEG), high-density EEG, computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT), and neuropsychological tests. A doctor might also use analysis techniques to help pinpoint where the seizures start including statistical parametric mapping (SPM) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). An accurate diagnosis of your seizure type and where it begins gives you the best chance for finding an effective treatment. Most people with epilepsy can become seizure-free by taking an anti-seizure medication called anti-epileptic medication. Doctors usually perform surgery when tests show your seizures originated in a small, well-defined area of your brain and the area in your brain does not interfere with vital functions such as speech, language, motor function, vision, or hearing. Other potential therapies that offer an alternative for treating epilepsy are vagus nerve stimulation and ketogenic diet.


PERCEPT DEVICE: Percept is the first and only deep brain stimulation neurostimulation system with the ability to capture and record brain signals while delivering therapy to patients with neurologic disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, epilepsy or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Physicians can track patient brain signals and correlate these with patient-recorded symptoms, side-effects, or medication intake. This enables more personalized, data-driven neurostimulation treatment. Dr. Jason Gerrard,  assistant professor of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience at Yale School of Medicine said, “This is going to be extremely helpful for the patients who come in to see their neuro team. The program gets set in the device, stays there, and stimulates like that all the time or the patients will have a couple different programs, and they can change it manually. This is a totally different level of interface with the brain, where the device itself is changing its programming on its own as it senses the patient’s disease state.”

(Sources:, Jason Gerrard, MD)





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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Jason Gerrard, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience

Read the entire Q&A