FDA approves brain implant to autonomously respond to epileptic seizures

In recent years, brain implants have been used to control tremors from Parkinson’s Disease and help quadriplegics move robotic arms.
We can now add epilepsy to the list—a brain implant for patients suffering epileptic seizures was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Epilepsy is caused by a kind of electrical storm in the brain that temporarily shorts out the system. Often, such events are associated with temporary loss of consciousness and bouts of muscle convulsions (seizures) lasting a minute or two.
The NeuroPace RNS Stimulator is surgically implanted within the skull and connected by wires and electrodes to the regions of the brain thought responsible for the seizures. The neurostimulator actively monitors electrical activity in these regions and autonomously delivers “imperceptible” electrical stimulation to normalize irregularities.
Epilepsy affects an estimated two million Americans and 65 million people worldwide. Even so, it remains a largely mysterious condition. If a person experiences two or more seizures, they are designated epileptic, but often, the root cause goes undiagnosed.
Sometimes a change of diet can aid epilepsy patients, but more often, drug therapies are required. If drugs don’t do the trick, doctors may look into brain surgery to remove the misfiring region. However, sometimes brain surgery isn’t practical because the region responsible is essential to living a normal life.
For patients who don’t respond to epilepsy drugs (see here for specific criteria) the NeuroPace neurostimulator might be an option. NueroPace estimates some 400,000 patients might benefit from their device.