Tiny brain chip implant could help curb epileptic fits by detecting the ‘electrical storm’ that occurs before seizures start


The Daily Mail | Source URL

An electronic chip implanted in the brain could help to prevent epileptic fits, a study suggests.

The device, so far tested only in mice, can detect the ‘electric storm’ that occurs in the brain when a seizure starts and release a natural chemical to stop it.

The chip, made from plastic and twice as thick as a human hair, could be scaled up and trialled in people within two years.

It then triggers a tiny pump that releases a brain chemical called GABA to stop the cells that cause a seizure from firing properly.

It was found to work in 17 mice. 

Around 600,000 people in Britain have epilepsy and three in ten are unable to control their seizures as anti-epileptic drugs do not work for them.

Stopping a seizure required less than 1 per cent of the chemical loaded into the device, suggesting it could operate for long periods without needing to be refilled.

The study authors, including researchers from France, stress that the device is several years away from routine use in humans. 

The results were reported in the journal Science Advances.

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