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Low Intensity Focused Ultrasound Treatment for Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

January 2, 2020


In this study, investigators are studying how pulsed low-intensity focused ultrasound affects patients with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy. Investigators hypothesize that patients’ EEGs will improve by showing fewer epileptiform discharges and that seizure frequency will be reduced.


Study Information

Investigators are looking for 10 participants who will be scheduled for a standard brain MRI scan if they have not had one in the past 3 months. Participants will have to keep track of seizure events in a log diary until 2 months after the last treatment. There will be 8 treatment sessions, 2 days a week for 4 weeks for 1-2 hours each.


Inclusion Criteria


  • Subjects at least eighteen (18) years of age
  • Subjects with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy whose seizures involve altered awareness (ie failed at least two trials of antiepileptic drugs for seizures), as determined by one of the BWH epilepsy neurologists based on clinical seizure semiology and/or EEG findings.
  • Subjects who experience at least 1-2 seizures per month on average, are aware of or have reliable caregivers who are aware of when seizures occur and can reliably log seizure frequency
  • Subjects who have the cognitive ability to read and understand the consent form, describe any potential symptoms experienced during or after treatments.


Exclusion Criteria


  • Subjects with a cognitive or psychiatric disorder that limits the ability to give informed consent or are unable to cooperate with testing
  • Subjects with dementia or other progressive degenerative disease, delirium or active psychosis
  • Subjects with ferromagnetic materials in the head
  • Subjects with severe cardiac disease, increased intracranial pressure, or a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit
  • Subjects who have primary generalized epilepsy or non-epileptic seizures
  • Subjects who have experienced status epilepticus in the 3 months leading up to enrollment in the study
  • Subjects (females) who are pregnant, or are of childbearing potential and not willing to use reliable birth control during the treatment period.
  • Subjects who are unable to get a brain MRI for any reason (implanted metal in body, inability to lie still)
  • Subjects with current brain tumors or an intracranial vascular lesion
  • Subjects with severe, uncontrolled medical problems, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, pulmonary or airway disease, heart failure, coronary artery disease, or any other condition that poses a risk for the subject during participation.
  • Subjects with holes in the treatment area of the skull from trauma or prior surgery
  • Subjects with pacemakers, medication pumps, and other implanted electronic hardware. If a subject has a working Vagal Nerve Stimulator in place, the device will be turned off prior to each treatment session and then turned back on after each session.



Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02115

Contact: Ellen J Bubrick, MD    617-732-7432  

Contact: Patrick S Trouten, BA    857-307-2383  



Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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