Combination of new technologies can help kids with epilepsy

December 25, 2018 10:22 PM

Ten-year-old Nicole Decker was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 3. Her mom says that at one point, she was having as many as 20 seizures a day.

"She would convulse and kind of black out," said Kathrina Decker, Nicole's mom.


For years, they tried an array of medications without success. One problem: her doctors didn't know what area of the brain her seizures were coming from.

But now, a new combination of technologies is making that easier. Nicole was one of the first patients at Children's Minnesota to benefit from it.  Her doctors used a combination of technology called "sEEG" and the "Rosa Robot."  Both are used to help locate where seizure activity is occurring and determine if surgery is an option.

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The Rosa Robot is a robotic arm that guided surgeons to specific areas of Nicole's brain. Then, they implanted 15 tiny electrodes into the tissue, so that the sEEG could give them data on where her seizures were starting.

The sEEG determined seizures were starting in the right temporal lobe, and that surgery to remove a small section was the best option to eliminate them.

"It becomes very, very important for us to know exactly where the seizures are coming from because that dictates what we can offer the patient," said Dr. Nitin Agarwal with Children's Minnesota.

Nicole had surgery over the summer to resect the portion of the brain where her seizures originated. It's been six months and she's been seizure-free since then.

"It was an answer to our prayers. There is hope out there. Don't lose hope," said Decker.

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Ellen Galles

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