Health Watch - New Hope For Seizures

Heidi Cline pedals more than 35 miles a week to work and school. She doesn't drive a car because she has epilepsy.

"I'd like to think no, I'm not going to have a seizure, but I can't guarantee that, and I don't want to put other people at risk," Cline says.

Patricia Elenburg may hold the answer for Cline.  She also suffers from epilepsy.

"I stiffen up, and I bite the inside of my mouth and salivate a lot and moan," Elenburg says.

But something implanted in her brain may stop her seizures. The Responsive Neurostimulator, or RNS, detects abnormal activity in Elenburg's brain and sends out electrical impulses to stop a seizure from happening.

"The wires, electrodes, could come out from this device, be placed in that very important area and can actually send an impulse at the time a seizure is beginning," says William Bell, M.D., a neurologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

RNS reaches parts of the brain that cannot be safely removed by surgery. That's why the device is so important for people like Elenburg.

"If we would have taken out a large area of her left frontal lobe, it could have affected her speech," says Dr. Bell.

The breakthrough could have an impact on more than 3 million people living with epilepsy.

"I'd like to think there's a miracle out there … they just haven't found it," Cline says.

Maybe they have.

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Rae Bush
Public Relations
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
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