If you have any questions, please contact Karen Secore, Nurse Navigator for the Cottage Epilepsy Center at: 805-832-3633
Most forms of epilepsy can be treated with medications; however, about 25 percent of epilepsy patients continue to have seizures while on medication. For such patients, the Cottage Epilepsy Center may recommend dietary changes, surgery or a combination of therapies.
Patients may find that one treatment no longer works as well as it used to for various reasons. It is important for patients and family members to track their response to treatments so that the health care providers can recommend changes or new treatments when needed.
There are specific dietary treatments that can be recommended such as the ketogenic diet. This is intended for patients one year or older who have frequent seizures and who do not respond well to anti-seizure medications. It is a very strict diet, composed mostly of fats with small amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fluids.
Most patients find that they have fewer seizures on this diet, although results vary. The program starts with a three to five day hospital stay, followed by regular appointments with the neurologist and dietitian.
Vagus Nerve Simulator
The Vagus Nerve Simulator device, also known as VNS, is an electrical generator implanted under the collarbone and connected by a wire to the vagus nerve in the neck. Stimulating this nerve has proven effective in reducing some types of seizures. It can be activated by swiping a special magnet over the implanted generator.
The device is also programmed to deliver stimulation on a predetermined schedule. Changes in stimulation can be made in the outpatient setting.
Responsive Nerve Stimulator
The Responsive Nerve Stimulator device, also known as RNS, is a neurostimulator that is implanted into the skull. Electrodes are precisely placed in the brain to areas where the seizures originate and connected to the stimulator. The device is “trained” over time to recognize the onset of the seizure and provide stimulation to that region therefore limiting the spread of the electrical activity.
RNS works best in patients where the region of seizure origin is identified and requires precise placement.