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Epilepsia Open. 2017 Aug 23;2(4):371-387. doi: 10.1002/epi4.12070. eCollection 2017 Dec.

Neurostimulation as a promising epilepsy therapy.

Lin Y1,2,3, Wang Y1,2,3.

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Department of Neurology Xuanwu Hospital Capital Medical University Beijing China.
Beijing Key Laboratory of Neuromodulation Beijing China.
Center of Epilepsy Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders Capital Medical University Beijing China.


The revolution in theory, swift technological developments, and invention of new devices have driven tremendous progress in neurostimulation as a third-line treatment for epilepsy. Over the past decades, neurostimulation took its place in the field of epilepsy as an advanced treatment technique and opened up a new world. Numerous animal studies have proven the physical efficacy of stimulation of the brain and peripheral nerves. Based on this optimistic fundamental research, new advanced techniques are being explored in clinical practice. Over the past century, drawing on the benefits brought about by vagus nerve stimulation for the treatment of epilepsy, various new neurostimulation modalities have been developed to control seizures. Clinical studies including case reports, case series, and clinical trials have been booming in the past several years. This article gives a comprehensive review of most of these clinical studies. In addition to highlighting the advantages of neurostimulation for the treatment of epilepsy, concerns with this modality and future development directions are also discussed. The biggest advantage of neurostimulation over pharmacological treatments for epilepsy is the modulation of the epilepsy network by delivering stimuli at a specific target or the "hub." Conversely, however, a lack of knowledge of epilepsy networks and the mechanisms of neurostimulation may hinder further development. Therefore, theoretical research on the mechanism of epileptogenesis and epilepsy networks is needed in the future. Within the multiple modalities of neuromodulation, the final choice should be made after full discussion with a multidisciplinary team at a presurgical conference. Furthermore, the establishment of a neurostimulation system with standardized parameters and rigorous guidelines is another important issue. To achieve this goal, a worldwide collaboration of epilepsy centers is also suggested in the future.


Deep brain stimulation; Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; Responsive neurostimulation system; Transcranial direct current stimulation; Vagus nerve stimulation

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