Johns Hopkins neurologist Joon-Yi Kang discusses her presentation, during the recent 2022 American Epilepsy Society annual meeting, about research on neurostimulation to improve surgical outcomes for patients with epilepsy. Worldwide, 70 million people are affected by epilepsy, and advancement in research presents the possibility of noninvasive treatment options.
Hello. My name is joon Kang and I'm an assistant professor of neurology and the division of epilepsy. I'm excited to share the results of our research at the american epilepsy society meeting, where I also gave a talk on your modulation for temporal lobe epilepsy, electrical stimulation and focus. Ultrasound Epilepsy is a common, devastating neurological disorder that affects more than 70 million people worldwide. It is thought that one out of every 10 people will experience one seizure in life. And about a third of those patients will develop epilepsy at some point in their life. Uncontrolled seizures result in poor quality of life and a higher rate of premature death Seizure medications are the first line treatment to control seizures. But in about a third of our patients, they do not become seizure free despite being tried on multiple seizure medications. And for these patients, the treatment, in the form of epilepsy surgery to target their seizure focus may offer the best chance of long term seizure freedom, with up to 90% of patients getting significant relief from their seizures after surgery. The focus of our research is on using neuro stimulation to improve our surgical outcomes. Specifically, we have conducted research on using direct brain stimulation to provide information on where the seizure onset is. When we can better identify where seizures start. We can better treat it with current surgical methods such as laser ablation or devices that utilize methods such as neuromodulation to prevent seizures from spreading in our most recent publication that we presented at the american epilepsy society. We use direct brain stimulation in the form of single short pulses, to see how regions that start seizures may differ from regions that do not start seizures. We demonstrated in 13 patients that the regions where the seizures start maybe more excitable compared to regions where seizures do not start. And most importantly that this information can be collected in between seizures. So what does that mean? Well, it means that there's a possibility that we can deduce where seizures start without having to wait for seizures to occur. And this is an exciting advancement in our field, since patients often come to the hospital and may wait up to several weeks to capture seizures, direct brain stimulation can also be used to stop seizures from occurring in the form of vagus nerve stimulation, responsive neuro stimulation and deep brain stimulation. There is a new non invasive meaning non cutting neuro stimulation technology that is being explored called focus ultrasound. Using sound energy, we can jiggle the mechanics sensitive ion channels in the brain to decrease cortical excitability at the seizure onset. We can also potentially open brain barriers and perform small abrasions. And although we do not yet have much human data on this, I'm very excited about offering this option of potential noninvasive, highly specific and targeted therapy to our patients. Thank you so much