Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a looming epidemic, growing most rapidly in the elderly population. Some of the most devastating sequelae of TBI are related to depressed levels of consciousness (e.g., coma, minimally conscious state) or deficits in executive function. To date, pharmacological and rehabilitative therapies to treat these sequelae are limited. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used to treat a number of pathologies, including Parkinson disease, essential tremor, and epilepsy. Animal and clinical research shows that targets addressing depressed levels of consciousness include components of the ascending reticular activating system and areas of the thalamus. Targets for improving executive function are more varied and include areas that modulate attention and memory, such as the frontal and prefrontal cortex, fornix, nucleus accumbens, internal capsule, thalamus, and some brainstem nuclei. The authors review the literature addressing the use of DBS to treat higher-order cognitive dysfunction and disorders of consciousness in TBI patients, while also offering suggestions on directions for future research.
Bornali Kundu, Andrea A. Brock, Dario J. Englot, Christopher R. Butson and John D. Rolston
John D. Rolston, Dario J. Englot, Doris D. Wang, Tina Shih and Edward F. Chang
Epilepsy is a devastating disease, often refractory to medication and not amenable to resective surgery. For patients whose seizures continue despite the best medical and surgical therapy, 3 stimulation-based therapies have demonstrated positive results in prospective randomized trials: vagus nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation of the thalamic anterior nucleus, and responsive neurostimulation. All 3 neuromodulatory therapies offer significant reductions in seizure frequency for patients with partial epilepsy. A direct comparison of trial results, however, reveals important differences among outcomes and surgical risk between devices. The authors review published results from these pivotal trials and highlight important differences between the trials and devices and their application in clinical use.