Epilepsy: Five new things

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Purpose of review:

Technological advance has revolutionized epilepsy management recently. Herein, we review some recent developments.

Recent findings:

Responsive neurostimulation (Food and Drug Administration [FDA]-approved 2013) works by continuous analysis of brain rhythms and direct brain stimulation on detecting patterns thought to be epileptogenic, thereby aborting seizures. Cardio-responsive vagus nerve stimulation (FDA-approved 2015) is an improvement over traditional vagus nerve stimulation systems, taking advantage of the fact that 80% of seizures are associated with tachycardia. Automated tachycardia detection leads to vagus nerve stimulation to abort seizures. In MRI-guided stereotactic laser ablation (developed 2012), a directed laser emitting fiberoptic catheter is used to ablate epileptogenic lesions. The procedure can be completed in 3 to 4 hours, potentially under local anesthesia and with next-day discharge. Perampanel (FDA-approved 2012) is a promising new class of AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid)-antagonist antiseizure therapy. Meanwhile, a millennia-old remedy for epilepsy, cannabis, is staging a comeback with recent legal and social permissiveness accelerating research into this use.


The coming years will demonstrate how these recent advances in device and drug management will improve the care of epilepsy.

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