Deep Brain Stimulation Device

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A UK-based teenager, Oran Knowlson who has become the first person in the world to be fitted with a brain implant to help bring his epileptic seizures under control by using deep brain stimulation (DBS) device.

About Deep Brain Stimulation Device: 

  • The device uses DBS, which is also utilised for movement disorders associated with Parkinson’s, and other neurological conditions.
  • Working
    • The neurostimulator delivers constant electrical impulses to the brain to disrupt or block abnormal seizure-causing signals.
    • A 3.5 cm square, 0.6 cm in thickness, the device was surgically implanted in Knowlson’s skull and anchored using screws.
    • The doctor then inserted two electrodes deep into his brain until they reached the thalamus — a relay station for all the motor and sensory information. The ends of the electrodes were connected to the neurostimulator.
    • The device was switched on after Knowlson recovered from his surgery. It can be recharged by a wireless headphone.

What is epilepsy?

  • It is a condition that leads to recurring seizures, sees a person experience jerking of arms and legs, temporary confusion, staring spells, or stiff muscles. It is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
  • The disease has no identifiable cause in nearly 50% of the cases.
  • Reasons for epilepsy: Head trauma, Tumours in the brain, some infections like meningitis, or even genetics can lead to epilepsy. It can increase the risk of accidents, drownings, and falling.

Q1: What is Neurocysticercosis?

Neurocysticercosis is a parasitic infection of the central nervous system and is caused by the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. Humans become infected after consuming undercooked food, particularly pork, or water contaminated with tapeworm eggs, or through poor hygiene practices.

Source: How the world’s first brain implant to control epileptic seizures works