Manipulating the epileptic brain using stimulation: a review of experimental and clinical studies

Sandrine Saillet, Mélanie Langlois, Berend Feddersen, Lorella Minotti, Laurent Vercueil, Stephan Chabardès, Olivier David, Antoine Depaulis, Colin Deransart, Philippe Kahane
Epileptic Disorders: International Epilepsy Journal with Videotape 2009, 11 (2): 100-12
Neurostimulation represents an interesting alternative therapy for patients resistant to drug treatment or who cannot benefit from resective surgery. Theoretically, neurostimulation allows the control of seizures to be tailored to the individual patient and specific form of epilepsy. Here, we review both experimental and clinical studies that have reported the possible control of epileptic seizures by means of different approaches using electrical stimulation (vagus nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation). The rationale for targeting specific areas that have thus far been considered (i.e., vagus nerve, cerebellum, anterior or centromedial thalamus, basal ganglia, cortex and temporal lobe) is addressed in the light of experimental data and clinical effectiveness in different models and forms of epilepsy. The type of seizures that can be considered for neurostimulation, as well as the optimal parameters such as stimulation frequency and modes of stimulation (chronic, continuous or adaptative), are discussed to determine the best candidates for such a therapeutic strategy. This review points out the need for improved knowledge of neural circuits that generate seizures and/or allow their propagation, as well as a better understanding of the mechanisms of action of neurostimulation.

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