Commentary: Physical Approaches for the Treatment of Epilepsy: Electrical and Magnetic Stimulation and Cooling

Department of Pharmacology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover D-30559, Germany.
Neurotherapeutics (Impact Factor: 5.05). 05/2009; 6(2):258-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.nurt.2009.01.014
Source: PubMed


Physical approaches for the treatment of epilepsy currently under study or development include electrical or magnetic brain stimulators and cooling devices, each of which may be implanted or applied externally. Some devices may stimulate peripheral structures, whereas others may be implanted directly into the brain. Stimulation may be delivered chronically, intermittently, or in response to either manual activation or computer-based detection of events of interest. Physical approaches may therefore ultimately be appropriate for seizure prophylaxis by causing a modification of the underlying substrate, presumably with a reduction in the intrinsic excitability of cerebral structures, or for seizure termination, by interfering with the spontaneous discharge of pathological neuronal networks. Clinical trials of device-based therapies are difficult due to ethical issues surrounding device implantation, problems with blinding, potential carryover effects that may occur in crossover designs if substrate modification occurs, and subject heterogeneity. Unresolved issues in the development of physical treatments include optimization of stimulation parameters, identification of the optimal volume of brain to be stimulated, development of adequate power supplies to stimulate the necessary areas, and a determination that stimulation itself does not promote epileptogenesis or adverse long-term effects on normal brain function.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "Based on this principle, hyperpolarization using cathodal tDCS has been proposed as therapy to suppress epileptiform discharges and clinical seizures in basic and clinical studies. Compared to VNS, DBS and RNS; tDCS and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) are non-invasive techniques [15] [22]. However, tDCS has several advantages over rTMS in that it is more economical and it can be safely used with compact equipment [7]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an emerging non-invasive neuromodulation therapy in epilepsy with conflicting results in terms of efficacy and safety. Review the literature about the efficacy and safety of tDCS in epilepsy in humans and animals. We searched studies in PubMed, MedLine, Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar (January 1969 to October 2013) using the keywords 'transcranial direct current stimulation' or 'tDCS' or 'brain polarization' or 'galvanic stimulation' and 'epilepsy' in animals and humans. Original articles that reported tDCS safety and efficacy in epileptic animals or humans were included. Four review authors independently selected the studies, extracted data and assessed the methodological quality of the studies using the recommendations of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, PRISMA guidelines and Jadad Scale. A meta-analysis was not possible due to methodological, clinical and statistical heterogeneity of included studies. We analyzed 9 articles with different methodologies (3 animals/6 humans) with a total of 174 stimulated individuals; 109 animals and 65 humans. In vivo and in vitro animal studies showed that direct current stimulation can successfully induce suppression of epileptiform activity without neurological injury and 4/6 (67%) clinical studies showed an effective decrease in epileptic seizures and 5/6 (83%) reduction of inter-ictal epileptiform activity. All patients tolerated tDCS well. tDCS trials have demonstrated preliminary safety and efficacy in animals and patients with epilepsy. Further larger studies are needed to define the best stimulation protocols and long-term follow-up. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Brain Stimulation
  • Source
    • "Also possible limitations due to the cross-over design and potential carryover effects need to be mentioned, as it would be possible that the motor tasks changed M1 plasticity for extended period of time [48]. To avoid these problems, we randomized the sequence of tasks which subjects completed and also designed each motor task differently to avoid carryover effects due to motor learning. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is evidence that interventions aiming at modulation of the motor cortex activity lead to pain reduction. In order to understand further the role of the motor cortex on pain modulation, we aimed to compare the behavioral (pressure pain threshold) and neurophysiological effects (transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) induced cortical excitability) across three different motor tasks. Fifteen healthy male subjects were enrolled in this randomized, controlled, blinded, cross-over designed study. Three different tasks were tested including motor learning with and without visual feedback, and simple hand movements. Cortical excitability was assessed using single and paired-pulse TMS measures such as resting motor threshold (RMT), motor-evoked potential (MEP), intracortical facilitation (ICF), short intracortical inhibition (SICI), and cortical silent period (CSP). All tasks showed significant reduction in pain perception represented by an increase in pressure pain threshold compared to the control condition (untrained hand). ANOVA indicated a difference among the three tasks regarding motor cortex excitability change. There was a significant increase in motor cortex excitability (as indexed by MEP increase and CSP shortening) for the simple hand movements. Although different motor tasks involving motor learning with and without visual feedback and simple hand movements appear to change pain perception similarly, it is likely that the neural mechanisms might not be the same as evidenced by differential effects in motor cortex excitability induced by these tasks. In addition, TMS-indexed motor excitability measures are not likely good markers to index the effects of motor-based tasks on pain perception in healthy subjects as other neural networks besides primary motor cortex might be involved with pain modulation during motor training.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · PLoS ONE
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Vigabatrin is a rationally developed antiepileptic drug, which acts by increasing GABA levels in the brain by irreversibly inhibiting GABA degradation. However, its clinical use in epilepsy is restricted by severe side effects, including vision loss, which is thought to be a consequence of drug exposure of the retina and nonepileptic brain regions. Targeted delivery into brain regions involved in seizure generation and propagation would overcome this problem. Previous studies in rat models of seizures or epilepsy have shown that anticonvulsant effects can be achieved by bilateral microinjection of vigabatrin into the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr), a basal ganglia output structure that plays an important role in the modulation of seizures. In the present study, we compared the anticonvulsant efficacy of vigabatrin after systemic and intranigral administration in a rat model, in which seizure susceptibility can be determined by timed intravenous infusion of pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) before and after drug injection in individual animals. Furthermore, because the subthalamic nucleus (STN) plays a crucial role as a regulator of basal ganglia outflow by providing excitatory glutamatergic input into the two output nuclei of the basal ganglia, SNr and entopeduncular nucleus, we evaluated the effects of bilateral focal delivery of vigabatrin into the STN on PTZ seizure threshold. A significant increase in seizure threshold was observed following systemic (i.p.) administration of high (600 or 1200 mg/kg) doses of vigabatrin. Bilateral microinjection of vigabatrin (10 μg) into either the anterior or posterior SNr also increased seizure threshold, but less markedly than systemic treatment. In contrast, focal delivery into the STN increased seizure threshold more markedly than either intranigral or systemic administration of vigabatrin. Furthermore, focal inhibition of STN was not associated with the severe adverse effects associated with systemic treatment. The data demonstrate that vigabatrin is an interesting substance for focal drug delivery in epilepsy and may be advantageous compared to more commonly evaluated compounds such as muscimol.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Neurobiology of Disease