Deep Brain Stimulation May Bring Relief for People with Severe Epilepsy

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Jill Chadwick

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          Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders in the world. But a new treatment has been approved that could end or dramatically reduce the number of seizures patients with the disease usually suffer. And it’s a procedure that’s been around for decades giving relief to those suffering tremors from Parkinson’s disease.

            The procedure is called deep brain stimulation, or DBS, and involves creating small holes in the skull under general anesthesia, and then precisely implanting thin electrode probes with computer guidance into an area deep within the brain called the thalamus. These probes produce light electrical impulses from a pacemaker-like device implanted under the skin of the upper chest. These impulses from the DBS device help regulate abnormal impulses and reduce seizures.

            That’s the relief Jennifer Bentrop is hoping for. She recently had the device implanted at The University of Kansas Health System, and is hoping for an end to her 40 years of seizures. In the video she talks about how epilepsy has affected her life and how she hopes being seizure-free will open up new doors and opportunities for her.

            Also in the video, Dr. Carol Ulloa, the doctor at The University of Kansas Health System who treated Jennifer and  Dr. Michael Kinsman, Jennifer’s neurosurgeon. They talk about how great it is to have another treatment option for epilepsy patients, how the procedure works, and how DBS has been used in the past. The video also includes an interview with Jennifer’s big brother Brian Bentrop, who has helped take care of Jennifer for 40 years.

            The video also shows the procedure taking place in the operating room.