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Defusing Seizures

New monitoring techniques and surgeries are easing epileptics whose condition can’t be controlled with medication alone.

By Anita Slomski // The MGH Research Issue 2011

Americans with epilepsy whose seizures can’t be controlled by medication

Patients who underwent surgery at MGH in 2010 to remove brain areas that might cause seizures

Hundreds of thousands to millions
Neurons whose electrical discharges are recorded by standard electrodes—so many that information on basic neural function is obscured

25 to 100
Individual neurons that experimental microarrays can listen to

Epilepsy patients who have had microarrays implanted, providing MGH neurologist Sydney Cash with “an entirely new view of what seizures are and how they affect the brain”

4 to 30
Minutes before the onset of a seizure when microarrays may be able to detect changes in the activity of individual neurons

5 to 10
Years before a device may be able to predict a seizure and deliver electrical stimulation to stop it before it occurs

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