Epilepsy can be very difficult to treat – and some families explore a range of options seeking relief from seizures for a child with epilepsy looking for a solution. For 14-year-old Taylor Johnson, a procedure known as deep brain stimulation (DBS) resulted in her experiencing a completely new life and the significant seizure relief she and her family have been trying to find.
In deep brain stimulation, a small battery-powered device sends low-level electrical signals through the brain. The device is similar to a pacemaker in that it uses electrical pulses to help regulate brain function. It can be programmed remotely to help regulate brain function and reduce seizures.
During surgery, a neurosurgeon places two thin electrical wires into deep brain tissue. The wires are connected to a small battery that can be controlled remotely to stimulate the area of the brain called the thalamus. The thalamus is the central point for relaying signals to other parts of the brain. Read full post »
Dr. Novotny, right, director of Seattle Children’s Epilepsy Program, discusses the latest developments in epilepsy (file photo)
New research and treatments for epilepsy have come a long way in the last several years. In this Q&A, we talk with Dr. Edward “Rusty” Novotny, director of Seattle Children’s Epilepsy Program and professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Washington. As the director of one of the largest epilepsy programs in the nation and the program exclusively dedicated to pediatrics in the Northwest accredited level 4 by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, Dr. Novotny answers questions about advances in epilepsy treatment.
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For the past 15 years, Seattle Children’s Research Division has been at the forefront of breakthrough innovations. From new drugs to treat cystic fibrosis, to first-in-the-nation use of laser ablation for epilepsy and brain tumors to remove unwanted cells, the research division is advancing our mission to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible.
Here, we take a look at some of the achievements of the past decade-and-a-half.
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The phone call came at 2 a.m. It was a neonatologist calling about Kimberly Aldinger and Scott Houghtaling’s son, Grayson. Kimberly had given birth to premature twins a month earlier and both babies were in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Swedish Hospital. The new parents had returned home to get a much-needed night of sleep when the doctor left a message on their voicemail.
Kimberly Aldinger and Scott Houghtaling’s son, Grayson (pictured here), began having seizures when he was just 24 days old. Now, his parents are using their scientific expertise to try to find the cause of his epilepsy.
“I’m really worried about Grayson,” the doctor said. “He’s having a massive seizure. You need to come down here.”
Scott immediately feared the worst. “I thought, the only reason they’d call in the middle of the night was if they were preparing for the worst outcome — Grayson not surviving.”
Thankfully, the medical team was able to stop Grayson’s seizure that night, but it was just the beginning of Kimberly and Scott’s journey to understand the severity of their son’s brain damage and how it would shape all their lives.
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