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In This Video

  • Epilepsy surgery has moved beyond the traditional resective techniques to the use of responsive neural stimulators and thermal laser ablation??
  • Responsive neural stimulators identify areas of seizure activity to stimulate and abort seizures, while thermal laser ablation uses pulses of laser light to remove areas that are causing seizures
  • Research has also expanded to investigating disorders such as autism that are traditionally resistant to clinical treatments

In this video, Ziv Williams, MD, neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, describes the advances in epilepsy surgery, which involve the use of responsive neural stimulators and thermal laser ablation. Responsive neural stimulators identify seizure activity, stimulate the areas causing seizures and stop them, while thermal laser ablation uses pulses of laser light to remove areas that are causing seizures. Dr. Williams also discusses how research has expanded to investigating disorders such as autism that are traditionally resistant to clinical treatments.

Transcript

Epilepsy surgery has advanced in a number of different ways over the past several years. Traditionally we've used resective techniques in which we try to localize a source of epilepsy and then resect it. But in a lot of cases the sources are either non-resectable or they're widespread. So recently there've been a number of different advances including the use of responsive neural stimulators that are able to record neural activity simultaneously and pick up seizure activity, and at the same time stimulate areas that are causing seizures. The general idea is to create this closed loop where you're able to both sense for seizures and at the same time stimulate and abort those seizures.

In addition to these "smart neural stimulators," more recently our groups and others have been using techniques such as thermal laser ablation in which we use pulses of laser light to refocally ablate areas that are causing seizures.

With regards to research, we've been very interested in trying to understand disorders that have been traditionally medically refractory to clinical treatments, such as autism, in which individuals have social behavioral disorders. We are trying to understand for example, how the brain processes social information. We are also trying to develop new techniques that allow us to modify social behavior and treat behavioral disorders like autism, depression and OCD.

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