Can Electrical Signals Treat Seizures That Drugs Can't?
The ever present risk of seizures haunts the lives of the 3 million epileptics in the U.S. Drugs don't help some 15% to 20% of patients. So for them, researchers are trying a new tack. If seizures are caused by an uncontrolled firestorm of nerve-cell activity in the brain, why not artificially stimulate the vagus nerve, which controls everything from salivation to heart rate, to prevent the storm? The idea "sounds sort of crazy but involves some interesting basic science," says University of Minnesota epilepsy expert Ilo E. Leppik.
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