Brain Stimulation As a Therapy for Epilepsy

  • Jeffrey H. Goodman
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 548)


The failure of current antiepileptic therapies to adequately treat a significant number of epileptic patients highlights the need for the development of new treatments for the disorder. A new strategy that is currently being developed is to deliver electrical stimulation directly to the brain to decrease or prevent seizure activity. Clinical evidence that electrical stimulation could interfere with seizure activity was initially reported in the 1930’s. However, many of these early studies consisted of case reports or were poorly controlled. In addition, there were a number of studies that failed to observe any beneficial effect of brain stimulation on seizures. More recently, deep brain stimulation has been used successfully to treat patients with movement disorders and vagus nerve stimulation has been shown to effectively decrease seizure activity in a select population of epilepsy patients. These advances have led to a reexamination of the potential therapeutic benefits of deep brain stimulation for the treatment of epilepsy. There is now experimental and clinical evidence that direct electrical stimulation of the brain can prevent or decrease seizure activity. However, several fundamental questions remain to be resolved. They include where in the brain the stimulus should be delivered and what type of stimulation would be most effective. One goal of this research is to combine the beneficial aspects of electrical stimulation with seizure detection technology in an implantable responsive stimulator. The device will detect the onset of a seizure and deliver an electrical stimulus that will safely block seizure activity without interfering with normal brain function.


Substantia Nigra Deep Brain Stimulation Brain Stimulation Superior Colliculus Seizure Activity 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

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  • Jeffrey H. Goodman

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