‘Electrical brain stimulation’ may have the potential to treat patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, according the latest UK research.

A study carried out by researchers from Kings College London focused on eight children with drug-resistant epilepsy in a bid to determine the effects of the following two key types of stimulation:

  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

This type of stimulation, which sees electrodes implanted into the brain, is already successfully used to treat a number of neurological conditions.

  • Subacute Cortical Stimulation (SCS)

This slightly less invasive treatment focuses on ‘short’ periods of stimulation to the surface of the brain, followed by monitoring and recording to determine which regions of the brain seizures originate.

Following tests with DBS, two of the eight children assessed demonstrated a 60 per cent improvement in the frequency and strength of their seizures, while one experienced a huge 90 per cent reduction in seizures.

In the case of SCS, two of the eight children became ‘seizure-free’ during the course of regular treatment, while four showed a 50 per cent or more improvement in seizure regularity.

Researchers concluded: “Given the significant long-term effects of chronic childhood epilepsy on educational attainment, employment, marital status, and psychological health into adulthood, this study may offer the potential to significantly improve the long-term quality of life of children with refractory [or drug-resistant] epilepsy.”

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