Boy Gets First Ever Epilepsy Implant, 80% Seizure Reduction

A young boy named Oran Knowlson, suffering from severe epilepsy, has become the first patient globally to test a groundbreaking device implanted in his skull to manage seizures. This neurostimulator, which sends electrical signals deep into his brain, has successfully reduced Oran’s daytime seizures by 80%, greatly improving his quality of life.

The surgery took place in October at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London as part of the CADET project, which tests the safety and effectiveness of deep brain stimulation for severe epilepsy. Oran, who has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, began experiencing multiple daily seizures at age three.

Oran’s mother, Justine, told the BBC that the condition had deprived him of his childhood. His seizures, including those causing him to collapse, shake uncontrollably, and lose consciousness, sometimes required emergency medication.

The device aims to block abnormal brain signals causing seizures. During the eight-hour surgery led by neurosurgeon Martin Tisdall, two electrodes were implanted in Oran’s brain targeting the thalamus, with the leads connected to a neurostimulator placed in his skull. After a month of recovery, the device was activated, allowing Oran to recharge it daily using wireless headphones.

Seven months post-operation, Oran has been more alert and free from daytime drop seizures. The Picostim™-DyNeuMo project, which developed the device, also aids clinical neuroscience and can adjust therapy in response to physiological signals, with applications extending to conditions like Parkinson’s-like Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA).