Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Deep brain stimulation reduces epileptic seizures in patients with refractory partial and secondarily generalized seizures

A recent study organized by Stanford University researchers found patients with refractory partial and secondarily generalized seizures had a reduction in seizures after deep brain stimulation.

This multi-center clinical trial determined that the benefits of stimulation of the anterior nuclei of thalamus for epilepsy (SANTE) persisted and by 2 years there was a 56% reduction in seizure frequency. Full findings of this study are available early online in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy.

Epilepsy, a common neurological disorder, is characterized by recurrent seizures that can cause temporary loss of consciousness, convulsions, confusion or disturbances in sensations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), epilepsy affects 50 million people worldwide. Past studies indicate that one-third of those with epilepsy do not respond adequately to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).

"Electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a promising therapy for epilepsy," said Robert Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Epilepsy Center at Stanford University, and lead author of the SANTE study. "Our goal is to find treatments that reduce the effects of epilepsy, particularly for those who don't respond to AED therapy."

The SANTE clinical trial included 110 participants, 18-65 years of age with partial seizures occurring at least 6 times per month (not more than 10 per day), and whose seizures failed to respond to at least 3 AED treatments. After a 3-month baseline with stable AED use, DBS electrodes were implanted in the anterior nuclei of thalamus (ANT) bilaterally using a stereotactic technique. One month after implantation, participants were randomized to stimulation at 5 V or no stimulation at 0 V (control group), using 90 µs pulses, 145 pulses/s, "ON" 1 minute, and "OFF" 5 minutes in a 3-month blinded treatment phase. (month 1 to month 4). All participants then received stimulation (from month 4 to month 13) in an unblinded "open label" phase of the trial.

Results showed those in the stimulation group had a 40.4% decline in seizures compared with 14.5% decline in the control group (blinded phase), and this difference was statistically significant, provided that seizures occurring in one patient transiently triggered by the stimulation cycle were discounted. Complex partial seizures, seizures listed as "most severe" by the subject and injuries from seizures all were reduced during the blinded phase in the stimulated group. Responder rate, (the percentage of patients whose seizures were cut in half or better) did not differ in the blinded phase, but improved long-term with respect to baseline.

Long-term follow-up began at 13 months post-implantation and included 105 participants all receiving stimulation. At 13 months, 41% of patients showed a reduction in seizures; at 25 months, 56% of patients experienced a reduction. Two participants were seizure-free from months 4-13 and 14 (12.7%) were seizure-free for at least 6 months of the trial. During the trial, no participant had symptomatic hemorrhage or brain infection. Researchers noted 5 deaths, none believed to be related to implantation or stimulation. Subjects in the stimulated group more often reported subjective depression and memory impairments, usually extensions of pre-exisitng problems.

"We found that bilateral DBS of the ANT does reduce seizure frequency in patients unresponsive to other treatments," concluded Dr. Fisher. The SANTE research team noted improvements in some participants who previously were not helped by multiple AEDs, vagus nerve stimulation, or epilepsy surgery. "While our study did not produce serious complications, DBS therapy is invasive and serious complications can occur," Dr. Fisher cautioned. "Additional clinical knowledge would help to determine the best candidates for DBS therapy and establish ideal stimulation parameters."

On March 12, 2010, an FDA advisory panel recommended approval of DBS in the anterior nucleus of thalamus as being safe and effective for patients with severe and refractory partial seizures with or without secondary generalization.

Article: "Electrical stimulation of the anterior nucleus of thalamus for treatment of refractory epilepsy." Robert Fisher, Vicenta Salanova, Thomas Witt, Robert Worth, Thomas Henry, Robert Gross, Kalarickal Oommen, Ivan Osorio, Jules Nazzaro, Douglas Labar, Michael Kaplitt, Michael Sperling, Evan Sandok, John Neal, Adrian Handforth, John Stern, Antonio DeSalles, Steve Chung, Andrew Shetter, Donna Bergen, Roy Bakay, Jaimie Henderson, Jacqueline French, Gordon Baltuch, William Rosenfeld, Andrew Youkilis, William Marks, Paul Garcia, Nicolas Barbaro, Nathan Fountain, Carl Bazil, Robert Goodman, Guy McKhann, K. Babu Krishnamurthy, Steven Papavassiliou, Charles Epstein, John Pollard, Lisa Tonder, Joan Grebin, Robert Coffey, Nina Graves, and the SANTE Study Group. Epilepsia; Published Early Online: March 18, 2010 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2010.02536.x).

This study is published in Epilepsia. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact

Epilepsia is the leading, most authoritative source for current clinical and research results on all aspects of epilepsy. As the journal of the International League Against Epilepsy, subscribers every month will review scientific evidence and clinical methodology in: clinical neurology, neurophysiology, molecular biology, neuroimaging, neurochemistry, neurosurgery, pharmacology, neuroepidemiology, and therapeutic trials. For more information, please visit

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit or

Dawn Peters | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>