Subthreshold electrical stimulation may be a welcome break for some epilepsy patients
medwireNews: Chronic subthreshold cortical stimulation could bring relief to patients with focal epilepsy who do not tolerate medication, are unsuitable for surgery or welcome a potentially reversible procedure.
Lead researcher Brian Lundstrom (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA) and colleagues report in a research letter in JAMA Neurology that continuous cortical stimulation at a frequency of 2–100 Hz (pulse width 90–450 µs; amplitude 1–6 V) reduced disabling seizures by 80%, decreased epilepsy severity and increased life satisfaction.
Over a follow-up ranging from 3 to 75 months, these outcomes were reported by 13 patients, 76.9% of whom stated that both their symptoms and life satisfaction had improved following the treatment.
Twenty-four hours of pre- and post-stimulation intracranial electroencephalography data available for six patients receiving 2 Hz confirmed a significant reduction in interictal epileptiform discharges, from a mean of 0.61 to 0.08 per second, within minutes of stimulation initiation.
“We think this approach not only provides an effective treatment for those with focal epilepsy but will allow us to develop ways of assessing seizure likelihood for all epilepsy patients. It would be of enormous clinical benefit if we could personalize treatment regimens for individual patients without waiting for seizures to happen”, Lundstrom told the press.
By Lucy Piper
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