Taiwanese researchers create chip to control epilepsy

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 3, 2014, 10:49 Updated : March 3, 2014, 10:49
A team of researchers at Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University has created an epilepsy-control chip that can be implanted into the brain of an epilepsy sufferer, the university said last week.

The chip can bring a fit under control in 0.8 second and boasting a world record of success rate of 92 percent, the university in Hsinchu, western Taiwan, said.

There are about 70 million epilepsy sufferers worldwide, including 200,000 in Taiwan. About 30 percent of these cases do not respond to drugs, necessitating surgical removal of the infected brain area that can have serious side effects such as impairment to memory, vision and movement, according to the school.

The university said it implanted a chip measuring 0.3 centimeters by 0.5 centimeters into the brain of an epileptic rat. As soon as the brain begins to produce irregular electrical activity, heralding the onset of a fit, the chip produces countering impulses and brings the fit under control, it said.

“The device is cheaper than a mobile handset to produce. This is great news for those whose epilepsy cannot be treated by drugs, as they will not have to undergo the risks of surgical intervention,” Wu Chung-yu, who leads the team, was quoted as saying by the Taiwan Today. Wu was formerly president of the university.

Wu said the team plans to start human clinical trial in three years.
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