Scalp Neurostimulation Reduces Seizure Activity in Drug-Resistant Epilepsy


A device that uses mild electrical currents on the scalp achieved positive results for treating patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. In an investigational study (NCT02866240), the currents from the device (Starsim; Neuroelectrics Corporation, Cambridge, MA) reduced seizure-like activity in the brain.   

A child wearing the scalp stimulation device.

All patients in the study had not responded to at least 2 antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). For many of them, the next step would be epilepsy surgery. In the study of 17 patients, 20 minutes of stimulation was given 10 times over a 2-week period, followed by an 8-week monitoring period to measure seizure frequency. Treatment with the device reduced seizure frequency by at least 40% from baseline in 75% of the patients.  

The technology develops a personalized stimulation protocol to target the areas of a patient’s brain where the seizures originate. The therapy has the potential to be used for patients who are not candidates for epilepsy surgery and those who have undergone surgery but continue to have seizures.

“We and our patients are delighted to have a non-invasive and non-pharmacologic option for those whose seizures have not been controlled by drugs or by surgery,” said Alexander Rotenberg, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “Our patients and families have seen clear improvements in well-being and quality of life.”


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