ABOUT DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION: Deep brain stimulation is an interactive procedure that requires surgeons to pinpoint precise areas inside the brain that are misfiring. Tiny electrodes are implanted into the brain and then connected to a device similar to a pacemaker that can be programmed to "turn off" the areas that are causing problems such as tremors or difficulty walking. During surgery, patients are asked to make eye contact with doctors, recall information, and to perform various movements so surgeons can identify those areas of the brain in need of treatment.
WHAT IS fMRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field rather than X-rays to take clear and detailed pictures of internal organs and tissues. fMRI uses this technology to identify regions of the brain where blood vessels are expanding, chemical changes are taking place, or extra oxygen is being delivered. These are indications that a particular part of the brain is processing information and giving commands to the body. As a patient performs a particular task, the metabolism will increase in the brain area responsible for that task, changing the signal in the image. Analyzing the images to understand how responses are similar or different for different tasks allows scientists to better understand the patient as an individual, and also to learn more about the human brain in general.
ABOUT EPILEPSY: Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system, specifically affecting the brain. A network of nerve cells (called neurons) runs through the body like telephone wires, delivering "messages," via chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters, from the brain. Epilepsy disrupts this vast communications network. The brain's electrical rhythms tend to become imbalanced by sudden surges, leading to seizures. Around 2.7 million Americans have been treated for epilepsy in the past five years: 8 out of every 1,000 people. And up to 5 percent of the world's population may have a single seizure at some point in their lives.