Stimulation of the Anterior Nucleus of the Thalamus for Epilepsy

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The thalamus makes electrical connections with many parts of the brain, and stimulation there may oppose a patient's epilepsy and reduce seizures. Thalamic stimulation is already in use to treat tremor and stimulation of a nearby brain region, the subthalamic nucleus, is now being used to treat Parkinson's disease. For stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus, the stimulating electrodes are surgically placed through dime-sized holes in the top of the skull, and are connected to a battery pack in the chest by thin wires that run under the skin.

Patients with brain stimulators still take antiepileptic medications. However, rather than coming to their doctor for medication prescription changes, patients in the stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus study come to get their stimulator settings reprogrammed with a magnetic device that the treating doctor uses to send information through the skin.

This study is closed to new enrollees, but patients are still being monitored and their battery changes are still being done according to protocol.

Contact: Dr. Michael Kaplitt