Epilepsy Center In the News

EpilepsyTeam The epilepsy team at Boston Children's Hospital celebrates Epilepsy Awareness Week.

New Electrical Brain Stimulation Technique Shows Promise in Mice

The New York Times reports pulses of electricity delivered to the brain can help patients with Parkinson’s disease, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and possibly other conditions. But the available methods all have shortcomings. Now, a team of neuroscientists and engineers has devised a method that might achieve a better option - skipping the surgery while reaching deep brain areas. Boston Children’s Hospital’s Alexander Rotenberg, MD, PhD, weighs in on the research.

Pinpointing where seizures are coming from, by looking between the seizures

Medicalxpress.com reports that Boston Children’s Hospital has developed a computational approach, described in the journal Neurosurgery, that could enable more patients with epilepsy to benefit from surgery when medications do not help. The approach uses a technology developed by Boston Children’s Hospital’s director of Epilepsy Surgery, Joseph Madsen, MD, that streamlines the seizure monitoring process required for surgical planning, making surgery a more feasible and less risky option for patients.

Mother’s Day Gifts

Huffington Post shares a touching blog written by Boston Children’s Hospital patient parent, Hillary Savoie, who reflects on past Mother’s Days after her daughter Esme was born with mutations in both PCDH19 and SCN8A — which are of unknown significance.

Doctors can study 3D printed models of your organs before surgery

Smithsonian reports on the use of 3D printed models to assess the condition of organs prior to and during surgeries. Boston Children’s Joseph Madsen, MD, is interviewed for the article

New diet vastly improves the life of local boy with epilepsy

ABC 10 in Albany, New York reports on seven year old Sammy Meyers who has Doose syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. He was having hundreds of seizures per day and medications weren’t helping him at all. Thanks to the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, Sammy’s parents learned about the ketogenic diet and brought him to Boston Children’s Hospital to meet with Dr. Ann Bergin. Sammy has now been seizure free for over a year. 

3-D Printers Help Doctors Prep for Complex Surgeries 

3-D printing is taking a doctor’s preparation for surgery to new levels. The Boston Globe chronicles how Dr. Joseph Madsen, neurosurgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, used the groundbreaking technology to prepare for one of his patients. 

Boston Children’s Hospital testing epileptic seizure-detecting watch

December 17, 2014 - Epilepsy is a tough condition to live with and, despite treatment, many patients often still have seizures.  Boston Children’s Hospital’s Tobi Loddenkemper, MD, was featured on WBZ-TV News talking about  a newly developed “seizure watch.” The watch is designed to sense rapid arm movements and increased sweat production, that a patient undergoing a gran mal seizure might experience.

Benefits Pile Up for Epilepsy Surgery

MedpageToday reports on two new studies presented at American Epilepsy Society's (AES) annual meeting suggesting that for most patients with drug-refractory epilepsy eligible for surgical treatment, their outcomes end up better than continuing on medical therapy. Researchers on one of the studies, led by Boston Children’s Ivan Sanchez, MD, calculated that the average 10-year-old undergoing surgery for drug-refractory temporal lobe epilepsy had a nearly 6-year extension in life expectancy with surgical treatment versus patients whose epilepsy was managed with drug therapy alone.

Doctor turns to 3D printers in a race to save a toddler's mind

EpilepsySurgery3DBrainModelThe Verge features the 3D printing service from Boston Children's Simulator Program and tells the story of an infant whose brain was replicated by the hospital's 3D printer and practiced on by Joseph Madsen, MD, prior to his operation. Madsen tells the Verge a hemispherectomy is one of the most challenging operations in pediatric epilepsy surgery and says the simulation made a big difference. Peter Weinstock, MD, PhD, director of the Simulator Program, says within a year of its inception his team has printed close to 100 models – 20 percent of which have made their way into operating rooms.

Dressed to Detect

Nature reports on wearable biometric devices that monitor seizures and promise improvements in epilepsy treatments and research, in a special supplement on epilepsy. Boston Children’s Tobias Loddenkemper, MD, who is currently running a trial utilizing a prototype of a wearable biometric device, provides expert comment.

Visualizing data to help epilepsy patients

A RENCI-led project puts patient and EMR data at clinicians' fingertips in visual formats to improve treatments for epilepsy. Read More

Boston Children's Hospital Welcomes New Epilepsy Chief


Boston Children’s Hospital today announced Phillip L. Pearl, MD, has joined the institution’s Department of Neurology as chief of the Division of Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.  Pearl, who succeeds Blaise Bourgeois, MD as chief, also will serve as professor of neurology and William G. Lennox Chair at Harvard Medical School.

High-tech imagery helps surgeons combat Epilepsy

The Boston Globe - After nearly seven hours of preparation, Dr. Joseph Madsen turned on the laser at Boston Children’s Hospital that would burn a tiny hole in the brain of 13-year-old Justin Griffin. The laser was on for only a minute, but scored a direct hit on the area Madsen thought was causing Justin’s weekly epileptic seizures. Twice more the surgeon pulsed the laser, and then concluded the operation was a success: The left hippocampus of Justin’s brain had been effectively destroyed and with it the catalyst for the boy’s disruptive seizures. Read more about this new treatment.

Laser Ablation for Epilepsy