Epilepsy

The term epilepsy is derived from the Greek epĂ­l?psis meaning ‘seizure’, or ‘attack’. This term has already been associated with the symptoms described here since the 16th century.

It refers to suddenly occurring convulsive fits, prompting different types of dysfunctions in the brain of the affected person.

Course of the Disease

Relapsing epileptic seizures may have different causes. They sometimes arise, for instance, from tumors or inflammations in the brain, but in many cases there are no metabolic or organic causes in the brain itself. These aspects of the development of epilepsy are still not fully understood.

Epilepsies can emerge in different forms. There are stationary epilepsies that affect only a circumscribed region of the brain. Other so-called generalized types of epilepsy do not provide any indication of a locally terminable seizure focus. In addition, there are types of epilepsy connected to other medical conditions as well as types whose connections are still entirely unknown.

The disease frequently appears during infancy but in many cases it disappears with adulthood. The frequency of an occurrence of epilepsy decreases after the age of 10 but highly increases again with old age.

Approx. 50 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy.

Possible Therapies

Epilepsy is most frequently treated with medication. Drugs, however, can lose their effect over time. In about one third of all cases medication has no sufficient effect or even no effect at all from the start.

In case medication therapy is exhausted or failing in its effect, certain patients may undergo surgical intervention. Provided that the epileptic focus can be localized clearly, it can be removed surgically. For most of the patients surgery results in a significant decrease or even freedom from seizures.

Over the past years initial neurotechnological products for the treatment of epilepsy were launched. These products stimulate either the vagus nerve or the deep brain area.

CorTec’s Approach

CorTec has developed an electrode that is applied as a diagnostic aid prior to epilepsy surgery.

The electrode helps to identify the exact localization of the epileptic focus in the brain. CorTec’s electrode allows for a particularly precise depiction of the affected tissue – and may also show any close-by brain areas controlling important functions such as speech or movement. With the help of the electrode such important functions will not be impaired during surgery.

Literature for Further Reading

  • GĂĽnter Krämer: Diagnose Epilepsie – Kurz und bĂĽndig. Wie Sie die Krankheit verstehen, die besten Therapien fĂĽr sich nutzen, Ihren Alltag optimal gestalten. Trias. Stuttgart 2003
  • Dieter Schmidt: Epilepsien. 200 Fragen und Antworten. W. Zuckschwerdt Verlag. Germering 2012
  • Ansgar Matthes und Hansjörg Schneble: Epilepsien. Diagnostik und Therapie fĂĽr Klinik und Praxis. Thieme. Stuttgart u.a. 1999