Saturday, September 15, 2007

Seizures: Doctors test new device!

DALLAS Epileptic seizures can leave sufferers completely helpless, making them unable to drive, work or even sleep.But a device being tested in North Texas could stop seizures before they strike.Jason Wright's life changed forever when he was 19."I was riding a four-wheeler without a helmet, and I dropped on top of my head," he said.

"I had a closed head injury."He suffered scar tissue on both sides of his brain, leaving him with epilepsy."His memory was bad," said Wright's mother, Barbara Whitaker. She said he would wake up "after falling down on the floor, not knowing where he is, not being able to orient himself to his surroundings."Medicine and surgery didn't work.

But when U. T. Southwestern asked him to try an experimental device that could help, he jumped at the chance.Doctors implanted a NeuroPace in his brain.The device constantly measures brain waves and sends the data to a computer.Doctors say the NeuroPace not only detects a coming seizure, it can stop one before it happens.Dr. Mark Agostini, a UTSW neurologist, says the device works by "stimulating [the brian] with enough electricity, almost like a missile fired against a missile, to stop the seizure."

Wright says he is happy with the results so far."I was having three to four, five, maybe six grand mal seizures a day," he said. "I haven't recorded one grand mal since this was put in. They've all been minor seizures. And some days, I haven't even recorded minor seizures."Doctors say information recorded by the NeuroPace allows them to compare brain activity before, during and after a seizure.They hope to use the data to better understand and treat epilepsy.


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