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Epilepsy breakthrough on horizon

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  • Epilepsy breakthrough on horizon

    Epilepsy breakthrough on horizon

    MIT developing device to detect oncoming seizures

    Anne Trafton, News Office
    August 31, 2006

    Researchers at MIT are developing a device that could detect and prevent epileptic seizures before they become debilitating.

    Epilepsy affects about 50 million people worldwide, and while anticonvulsant medications can reduce the frequency of seizures, the drugs are ineffective for as many as one in three patients.

    The new treatment builds on an existing treatment for epilepsy, the Cyberonics Inc. vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), which is often used in patients who do not respond to drugs. A defibrillator typically implanted under the patient's collar bone stimulates the left vagus nerve about every five minutes, which has been shown to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in many patients.