Adult epilepsy treatment reduces seizures in children

seizure
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A surgical treatment commonly used to reduce epileptic seizures in adults also is effective and safe for children, according to a Rutgers study.

The study, published in the journal Neurosurgery, is one of the first to investigate responsive neurostimulation system (RNS)—a device similar to a pacemaker that sends electric charges to the heart, which delivers stimulation directly to the brain when needed to prevent seizures—in children.

Up to 40 percent of people who suffer from do not respond to medication. RNS, which is implanted in the brain and monitors brain waves, detects seizures and unusual electrical activity that can lead to seizures, then delivers small pulses of stimulation to help the brainwaves return to normal. The system, which has not been well studied in children whose brains are still growing, is being increasingly used in pediatric centers to control seizures.

"As we expand use of RNS to children, it is critical to consider how to determine the lower age limit," said lead author Yasunori Nagahama, an assistant professor of neurosurgery and director of pediatric epilepsy surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "Considering this procedure involves removing a portion of the skull to implant the device, the benefits and potential harm based on the variable skull development in individual patients should be considered. Children experience rapid skull growth within the first two years and reach about 90 percent of adult skull volume by around age 8. In this study, there were two patients under 7 years at the time RNS was implanted, including a 3-year-old, who was the youngest reported patient to undergo RNS implantation."

Researchers looked at 35 and from age 3 to 25 with drug-resistant epilepsy who were treated with RNS. They found that 84 percent had a reduction in disabling seizures, including 18 percent who had a reduction of more than 90 percent.

"The findings suggest that responsive neurostimulation is an effective off-label of drug-resistant epilepsy in carefully selected ," said Nagahama. "However, more research on long-term efficacy and safety is needed to determine which patients will benefit most."


Explore further

Focused ultrasound may help prevent seizures in some patients with epilepsy

More information: Yasunori Nagahama et al, Real-World Preliminary Experience With Responsive Neurostimulation in Pediatric Epilepsy: A Multicenter Retrospective Observational Study, Neurosurgery (2021). DOI: 10.1093/neuros/nyab343
Journal information: Neurosurgery

Provided by Rutgers University
Citation: Adult epilepsy treatment reduces seizures in children (2022, January 5) retrieved 25 May 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-01-adult-epilepsy-treatment-seizures-children.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
87 shares

Feedback to editors