Deep brain stimulation in the treatment of refractory epilepsy: update on current data and future directions

Bradley C Lega, Casey H Halpern, Jurg L Jaggi, Gordon H Baltuch
Neurobiology of Disease 2010, 38 (3): 354-60
Deep brain stimulation for epilepsy has garnered attention from epileptologists due to its well-documented success in treating movement disorders and the low morbidity associated with the implantation of electrodes. Given the large proportion of patients who fail medical therapy and are not candidates for surgical amelioration, as well as the suboptimal seizure control offered by vagus nerve stimulation, the search for appropriate brain structures to serve as targets for deep brain stimulation has generated a useful body of evidence to serve as the basis for larger investigations. Early results of the SANTE trial should lay the foundation for widespread implementation of DBS for epilepsy targeting the anterior thalamic nucleus. Other targets also offer promise, including the caudate nucleus, the subthalamic nucleus, the cerebellum, the centromedian nucleus of the thalamus, and the hippocampus. This paper reviews the logic which underlies these potential targets and recapitulates the current data from limited human trials supporting each one. It also provides a succinct overview of the surgical procedure used for electrode implantation.

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