Epilepsy surgery may be one option for people with focal epilepsy but finding the brain region where seizures originate can be difficult. Research funded by Epilepsy Research UK has investigated how electrical brain stimulation can be used to treat drug resistant epilepsy.

Dr Antonio Valentin and colleagues at King’s College London have developed a new diagnostic technique called sub-acute cortical electrical stimulation (SCS) that can accurately detect the source of epileptic activity in the brain, helping to inform epilepsy surgery. Excitingly, the researchers have found that SCS can reduce seizure frequency for children and adults with epilepsy when surgery is not an option. The results from Dr Valentin’s study also suggests that electrical brain stimulation may be effective in children with drug resistant epilepsy.

Sophie underwent the procedure and has now been seizure-free for over 5 years. You can read her story in a newspaper interview here.

I hope these amazing techniques will be rolled out to many more people. Research like this is life changing for children like Sophie.
Dr Antonio Valentin

Why is this research needed?

Approximately a third of people with epilepsy do not respond to existing anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) and surgery to remove the seizure focus (the region of the brain in which seizures originate) may not be an option for them. Cortical electrical stimulation is designed for people whose epilepsy originates in one part of the brain, who are not eligible for surgery. Dr Valentin’s technique will not only provide improved quality of life, it will potentially help to reduce epilepsy-related injuries and even healthcare costs.

You can read more about Dr Valentin’s research here.