Researchers in Sweden and France have developed a tiny device that can detect epileptic seizures at the exact point in which they arise, and deliver, to that precise point, a substance that can stop them before they spread to other areas of the brain.The device, called a bioelectronic neural pixel, is 20×20 μm* in size (approximately the size of a human hair follicle) and combines recording electrodes with a pump mechanism to administer treatment.If it can be safely applied in humans, this technology could potentially be used to locally record brain activity and regulate the targeted release of specific therapeutic agents; minimising side effects. It “creates a range of opportunities,” write the authors, whose results are published in the leading scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).These findings come from work in animal brain tissue, in which the scientists chemically induced seizure-like activity. They used the device to first locate the origin of the seizures and then deliver a substance called GABA, which dampens neuronal activity, to try and stop them.The team found that the GABA was able to stop seizure activity on the spot, whilst a recording at that point was being taken.Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), which are taken orally or injected into the blood stream, spread throughout the body and often cause unpleasant side effects. Therefore, being able to deliver a therapeutic compound to the exact place where it is needed could minimise or completely eliminate its side effects.Dr Daniel T. Simon, Senior Author of the study, said in a press release: “Our technology makes it possible to interact with both healthy and sick neurons. We can now start investigating opportunities for finding therapies for neurological illnesses so rapidly and so locally that the patient doesn’t notice them.”Author: Dr Özge Özkaya*1 μm is one millionth of a metreClick here for more articles about other treatments for epilepsy.