Responsive Cortical Stimulation for the Treatment of Epilepsy

Felice T. Sun, Martha J. Morrell, Robert E. Wharen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder affecting ∼1-2% of the population. Despite the available treatment options (pharmacotherapy, surgery, and vagus nerve stimulation), a large percentage of patients continue to have seizures. With the success of deep brain stimulation for treatment of movement disorders, brain stimulation has received renewed attention as a potential treatment option for epilepsy. Responsive stimulation aims to suppress epileptiform activity by delivering stimulation directly in response to electrographic activity. Animal and human data support the concept that responsive stimulation can abort epileptiform activity, and this modality may be a safe and effective treatment option for epilepsy. Responsive stimulation has the advantage of specificity. In contrast to the typically systemic administration of pharmacotherapy, with the concomitant possibility of side effects, electrical stimulation can be targeted to the specific brain regions involved in the seizure. In addition, responsive stimulation provides temporal specificity. Treatment is provided as needed, potentially reducing the likelihood of functional disruption or habituation due to continuous treatment. Here we review current animal and human research in responsive brain stimulation for epilepsy and then discuss the NeuroPace RNS System, an investigational implantable responsive neurostimulator system that is being evaluated in a multicenter, randomized, double-blinded trial to assess the safety and efficacy of responsive stimulation for the treatment of medically refractory epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Epilepsy
  • closed-loop
  • device
  • neurostimulation
  • responsive stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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