Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Neurosurgeons at Rush are the first in the midwest to implant investigational neurostimulator


Neurosurgeons at Rush University Medical Center are the first in Chicago to implant a new investigational neurostimulator in a patient with medically refractory epilepsy. The neurostimulator may be able to suppress seizures in patients with epilepsy before any symptoms appear, much like the commonly implanted heart pacemakers which stop heart arrhythmias before any symptoms occur.

Dr. Richard W. Byrne, neurosurgeon at Rush and member of the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch Medical Group (CINN), performed the first implant on Tuesday, June 29, on an Indiana man unlikely to benefit from surgical resection.

Byrne says this is the "Holy Grail" in epilepsy surgery and the most exciting thing he’s seen. "This device might help epilepsy patients who do not respond to current medical treatment, testing an entirely new concept in treating medically refractory epilepsy."

"Our first implanted patient has two distinct epileptic foci, one on each side of the brain, producing two different seizures so traditional surgical resection was not an option," said neurologist Dr. Michael C. Smith, the patient’s physician and co-principal investigator of the study. "Placing implants on each side of his brain at his sites of seizure onset will allow detection and treatment of his seizures much like an implantable defibrillator of the heart. If you view an epileptic seizure as a brain arrhythmia, electrical stimulation may return it to a more normal rhythm."

Until now, surgical treatments have generally involved removal of parts of the brain responsible for triggering seizures. Neurologist Dr. Donna Bergen, co-principal investigator of the study, says this new approach not only avoids removal of brain tissue, but also allows therapy to be delivered to the brain only ’on demand,’ when a seizure is actually starting to appear.

"The research device is made up of two elements, one which will record the patient’s brainwaves (EEG) and one which will deliver small electrical pulses to the brain. The device, about the size of a small pocket watch, was surgically placed in the patient’s skull by Dr. Byrne," says Bergen.

Byrne made a small opening in the skull, placing the neurostimulator in a tray-like holder fastened to bone. The neurostimulator has two electrode wires that were precisely placed in areas of the brain where the seizures had been found to originate during preliminary testing. The electrodes can lie on the brain or be placed into locations deep within the brain. After surgery, the patient is not able to see or feel the device in the head.

"This responsive neurostimulator system is an incredibly sophisticated, quite remarkable system. Everything is closed up in the skull, so it is a self-contained system and designed to be responsive to abnormal activity in the brain," says Bergen. "When a seizure onset is detected, tiny electrical pulses will be delivered, in hopes of disrupting the abnormal brain activity and stopping the seizure."

Byrne describes this neurostimulator as a "closed loop system" and says it’s unlike the vagus nerve stimulator used in some patients with epilepsy.

The vagus nerve stimulator is programmed to stimulate at timed-intervals. If a seizure begins between intervals, the patient activates the stimulator by swiping a magnet over their chest at the location where the device is implanted.

The new investigational neurostimulator system monitors and will attempt to treat seizures. The neurostimulator reads the EEG, sees an onset of a seizure, and then sends an electrical impulse to the brain in an attempt to disrupt the seizure. The patient does not need to activate the stimulator.

Following surgery, patients in the study will come to Rush for scheduled office visits. Neurologist Dr. Marvin Rossi will use a computer to program the neurostimulator to "read the patient’s seizure." When the neurostimulator senses a seizure beginning, the electrodes stimulate that part of the brain in an attempt to stop the seizure. In addition to Rush University Medical Center, nine other medical centers across the country are involved in the study.

Rush University Medical Center includes the 824-bed Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital; 110-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center; Rush University Medical College, College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College.

The Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch is one of the nation’s leading organizations for the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of people with brain and spine disorders. Originally founded in 1987, CINN is the Midwests largest team of neurosurgeons known for their pioneering treatments in minimally invasive techniques. Through a network of eight hospitals spanning two states, CINN treats more patients with brain tumors and spine disorders than any other physician group in Illinois.

Mary Ann Schultz | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

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...

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

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>