Developing an epilepsy treatment device

Animation of device

Arrays of electrodes surgically implanted on the surface of the brain will monitor the complex patterns of brain activity.

These signals will be sent to a processor (similar to a bionic ear stimulator) and proceed to detect/predict the epileptic seizure.

Once a seizure is detected a therapeutic electrical stimulus can be applied to the electrodes in the appropriate area of the brain to suppress the seizure.

Principal Investigator – Prof Mark Cook, Chair of Medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne)
Principal Investigator – A/Prof David Grayden
Principal Investigator – Prof Hugh McDermott
Principal Investigator – A/ Prof Chris Williams
Research fellow – Dr Alan Lai

Background

Approximately one per cent of the world’s population suffers from epilepsy and of these, 30-40 per cent have uncontrolled seizures despite medications. The majority of these medically refractory patients are unsuitable for surgery, the end result being a large, unmet need for alternative therapies.

People who are unable to control their seizures experience a drop in quality of life, often self-limiting their activities and social interactions, and there is an enormous financial cost of ongoing medical treatments and hospitalisations.

Our research

This project aims to develop a stimulator to suppress seizure activity in the brain.

A portable device is being constructed that is capable of monitoring the electrical activity of the brain via electrodes. If abnormal activity is detected, a therapeutic waveform will be delivered in order to stop the epileptic event. Such a device will offer new therapeutic solutions to many sufferers of epilepsy worldwide.

Collaborators

This project is being done in collaboration with St Vincent’s Hospital.

Funding

NH&MRC Development Grant

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