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A new concept in the treatment of epilepsy ?

Gent (Belgium) making progress in the battle against epilepsy.

The University of Gent has made considerable progress for the treatment of
epilepsy. The team working with the world renowned Professor Paul Boon developed
a pacemaker that recognizes and prevents seizures. Five patients in Belgium
already got the device implanted and their response was enthusiastic. In Belgium
alone 60.000 persons suffer from epilepsy. 

The Neurology, Neurosurgery and Magnetic Resonance departments worked
together developing this high-tech device. Says Professor Boon of the team:
“As to the concept, this is a long-term brand new treatment.” 

The nerve centre of this new technique is a small pacemaker which is
implanted in the abdominal cavity. The pacemaker is linked to electrodes, which
are implanted on the brains. These electrodes permit the pacemaker to receive
information when a seizure might occur. At that specific moment an electric
stimulation can be performed by the pacemaker to prevent the seizure.

The past year the team at Gent has been applying this technique with some
patients. The professor notes with satisfaction that “The results of the
first three treated patients show a strong diminishing up to a stop of the
seizures. There aren’t even any side effects that could be noted. The patients’
proportion of medication could be reduced and also the different types of
medications could be reduced.” 

Wouter Vandeweyer (29) is one of the patients with whom this new technique
has been applied. He is very impressed. “Since I have the implant, I feel
much more secure. It is easier living having the knowledge that the chance of a
seizure has become smaller. If ever a seizure would occur, it would be a small
one. Heavy seizures should be history.”

Wouter isn’t aware of any side effects. “The only difficulty I
experienced is the very hard revalidation after the operations. It requires five
surgery-sessions to have the electrodes implanted. That is suffering, you know.
But, after all, I find it’s worthwhile. I hope the physicians in Gent succeed in
getting this type of treatment available for every epileptic.

04/11/2002
(pw)
Copyright DE STANDAARD

Courtesy of De Standaard : Belgian Newspaper.

Go to De Standaard Online

 

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Last update of this page : 25-Jun-2004


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