Implanted Nerve Stimulator Eases Epilepsy in Kids

The device is already FDA-approved for use in adults

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FRIDAY, Sept. 2, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Stimulation of a cranial nerve through an implant can effectively treat some children with epilepsy, according to the results of a new two-year study.

In a study of more than 75 young patients, doctors found that 59 percent of those implanted with a vagus nerve stimulator did not suffer from localization-related epilepsy, or seizures occurring in one part of the brain.

Hospital visits for epilepsy-related conditions also decreased by 41 percent, the researchers reported Wednesday at the International League Against Epilepsy Congress in Paris.

The nerve stimulator is implanted in the left side of a patient's neck and works by sending signals to the brain to decrease the electrical activity that leads to seizures. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997 for the treatment of epilepsy unresponsive to medication.

The research was conducted at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Clinic at Columbus Children's Hospital, one of the first institutions to begin using the nerve stimulator in children.

More information

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about epilepsy .

SOURCE: Columbus Children's Hospital, news release, Aug. 31, 2005

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