When many think of epilepsy they think seizures, which in a nutshell, is exactly what the disease is about. The difference between the two is that seizures are a singular occurrence where as epilepsy is defined as two or more unprovoked seizures. There are just over forty different types of seizures in today’s world. Some of the earlier historical descriptions of the disease include Hippocrates describing it as “the sacred disease”, and Shakespeare defined it as “the falling disease”. Pharmaceutical medicine as well as surgical procedures have been options for treatments for awhile and continue to be used for many sufferers today. There are individual epileptic cases where these treatments just won’t work and finding an alternative elixir becomes a pursuit.
One breakthrough treatment, fitting for the technological age we live in, is called Responsive Neurostimulation System, or RNS. A Californian company named NeuroPace is responsible for the design and creation of this system. Over a thousand people in America have experienced major enhancements in their quality of life by allowing this technology to enter their brain. A neurostimulator is placed in a persons skull after the neurosurgeon positions the leads of this device at the source of the seizure. This instrument has been compared to cardiac pacemakers because it detects and delivers through electronic devices. Once the RNS device is properly implanted in a patients head, it is designed to progressively monitor brain activity. It is set up to identify and record patterns that can produce seizures. The system will administer short pulses of electricity that will disrupt the aberrant brain activity before a seizure develops. Patients also receive a 24 hour remote monitor with unique software that wirelessly compiles data from the implant, and relays it to a database. Physicians can then analyze information on each patients progress and seizure status. Responsive Neurostimulation System is the only medical device that is smart enough to react to what’s happening in a patients brain to stop seizures at their source. RNS serves as a milestone for the remedy of medically resistant epilepsy, rendering a substitution to surgery.
Another alternative for people with epilepsy that do not respond well to medicine or are ineligible for surgery is cannabis. Evidence from lab studies and small clinical studies propose that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound of weed, will presumably be helpful in governing seizures. Organizing and managing studies can be challenging as researchers have confined admittance to marijuana due to federal regulations. Encounters of cannabis’s potentiality to alleviate seizures have been seen and talked about for over a century, but enthusiasm in medical marijuana has heightened in the last fifteen to twenty years. Scientists have begun to spotlight the budding benefits of CBD. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has more of the crazy dreamy effects, CBD doesn’t really induce euphoric states nor cognitive impairment as much. Studies have shown that cannabidiol can act as an anticonvulsant as well as an antipsychotic effect for some. In general, about a third of the patients who have been involved in studies involving cannabidiol have had beneficial improvements. Typically the improvements are seen in the patients motor skills. Although its not for every case, some conclude that more testing and experimenting with different plant strains correlation to the different types of epileptic seizures may be rewarding.