ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 SPACE
* HEALTH
 AIDS
 Aging
 Alternative
 Cancer
 Children
 Diet & Fitness
 Men
 Women
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 ARTS & STYLE
 NATURE
 IN-DEPTH
 ANALYSIS
 myCNN

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

  MULTIMEDIA:
 video
 video archive
 audio
 multimedia showcase
 more services

  E-MAIL:
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Or:
Get a free e-mail account

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 AsiaNow
 En Español
 Em Português
 Svenska
 Norge
 Danmark
 Italian

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 TIME INC. SITES:
 CNN NETWORKS:
Networks image
 more networks
 transcripts

 SITE INFO:
 help
 contents
 search
 ad info
 jobs

 WEB SERVICES:

  health > story pageAIDSAlternative MedicineCancerDiet & FitnessHeartMenSeniorsWomen

Brain 'pacemaker' may prevent epileptic seizures

Pacemaker
A vagus nerve stimulator implanted into the body gives periodic electrical stimulation to the brain to help prevent epileptic seizures.  
August 25, 1999
Web posted at: 8:20 a.m. EDT (1220 GMT)
From Correspondent Jennifer Auther

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Nolan Hutain had to give up baseball because of epilepsy, but a new brain pacemaker has provided considerable relief and inspired the 12-year-old's dream to return to the ball diamond.

Among 2 million Americans suffering from epilepsy, Nolan knows all too well about the violent seizures associated with the nervous system disorder.

"You see all these flashing things around you, but they're a lot bigger. You can't really see that well -- blackouts -- you go completely blind," he says.

Ten to 15 seizures a week caused Nolan to miss school and fall behind. He had to drop baseball altogether.

Since he wasn't responding well to medication, his family pursued a different medical route. He had a vagus nerve stimulator implanted in his brain in June.

The $9,000 device is best described as a pacemaker for the brain. To make it work, surgeons make a pocket in the chest to hold a transmitter, called a NeuroCybernetic Prosthesis, or NCP, according to Dr. Clarence Greene, a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Pacemaker
Nolan Hutain places a magnet across his chest to lessen the severity of a seizure.  

The vagus nerve stimulator has a generator similar to those used in heart pacemakers. The NCP generator is computer- controlled, and powered by a battery that can last up to five years.

Doctors use a computer to program doses of periodic electrical stimulation to prevent seizures.

Nolan has another weapon if he feels the onset of a seizure. When Nolan places a magnet across his chest, an episode has a shorter duration and seems less intense, says Dr. Mary Kay Dyes, a neurologist.

The NCP has been on the market for two years and implanted in 4,500 patients, mostly adults. For Nolan it means a chance to live a more normal life. He hopes to regain enough control to spend more time in school, and perhaps even play baseball again.



RELATED STORIES:
FDA OKs medical implant device for epilepsy
July 16, 1997
In-Depth: Epilepsy
Study shows high fat, low carb diet helps epileptic children
December 8, 1998
Diet may help epileptics go seizure-free
January 31, 1996
Researchers isolate the rare epilepsy gene
July 19, 1996

RELATED SITES:
Cyberonics
Epilepsy Foundation
Mental Health Net: Epilepsy Resources
Epilepsy FAQ
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

LATEST HEALTH STORIES:
China SARS numbers pass 5,000
Report: Form of HIV in humans by 1940
Fewer infections for back-sleeping babies
Pneumonia vaccine may help heart, too
 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.