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Brain Cooling: Can Cooling the Brain Actually be Used as a Treatment for Epilepsy?


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In the early view version of the journal, Epilepsia, Drs. Motamedi and colleagues from the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine present a critical review and opinion article. It is known that brain cooling, otherwise known as therapeutic brain hypothermia, is already a standard of care for a condition such as cardiac arrest in adults, or in neonates in the situation of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. However, there has been an increasing number of research papers that have looked at the concept of utilizing hypothermia to help control seizures that might be used as part of an implantable device to cool the brain in a specific region. In this well written review, Drs. Motamedi and colleagues discuss research innovations in developing cooling as a viable option for the treatment of drug resistant epilepsy. 

Why is this Important?
There is a lot of information on the impact of temperatures on how nerve cells interact but how cold temperatures applied to the brain yields positive benefits are yet to be fully understood. This article assesses and speculates where hypothermia may have a role for the treatment of difficult to manage seizures.

Items
This approach to epilepsy management may be beneficial in bringing about a new concept for the management of difficult to treat epilepsy and seizures when medications have ceased to function. More work is needed to understand how this approach to therapy could be potentially developed for an individual patient and perhaps, more importantly, outside of a hospital environment.

by Joseph I. Sirven, MD
Editor-in-Chief, epilepsy.com

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