Deep brain stimulation for medically refractory epilepsy
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that affects 0.5-1% of the population. Up to one-third of patients will have incompletely controlled seizures or debilitating side effects of anticonvulsant medications. Although some of these patients may be candidates for resection, many are not. The desire to find alternative treatments for epilepsy has led to a resurgence of interest in the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS), which has been used quite successfully in movement disorders. Small pilot studies and open-label trials have yielded results that may support the use of DBS in selected patients with refractory seizures. Because of the diversity of regions involved with seizure initiation and propagation, a variety of targets for stimulation have been examined. Moreover, stimulation parameters such as amplitude, frequency, pulse duration, and continuous versus intermittent on vary from one study to the next. More studies are necessary to determine if there is an appropriate population of seizure patients for DBS, the optimal target, and the most efficacious stimulation parameters.
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