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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Epilepsy implant pulses away fits
A student who had pioneering surgery for epilepsy says her life has turned around since the treatment.

Natalie Seed, 21, a forensics student at Lincoln University, had an implant inserted near her collarbone to stimulate a nerve in the neck.

By sending regular, tiny pulses of electrical energy to the brain, the device can help prevent a seizure.

Natalie, from West Yorkshire, said her seizures had dropped from about 12 a day to two a week since the surgery.

Husky voice

"It neutralises the build up of energy in your brain which causes the seizure and is operated magnetically," the student from Featherstone said.

"If you swipe a magnet that you carry around with you across the box it gives a higher stimulation instantly that neutralises the seizure and reduce the severity and length of it."

It was a new type of therapy and I was one of the first in the country - sort of a guinea pig
Natalie Seed

One side effect is that her voice gets lower and husky when the magnet is swiped.

She was six when she fractured her skull in her school playground - an accident which probably triggered her severe epilepsy.

By the age of nine, she was having twelve seizures a day. Almost 456,000 people in the UK suffer from epilepsy, making it the second most common neurological condition after migraines.

Natalie said: "It was very hard to cope with the different seizures as you would never know when they would come.

"It affects your social life and your family life and schooling - my attendance wasn't quite up to most people's.

"It was a new type of therapy and I was one of the first in the country - sort of a guinea pig," Natalie said.

Her mother Jackie said: "It affected our quality of life - things had to be cancelled and it was difficult to lead a normal life.

"But the treatment has made a big difference and given us a new lease on life - to see her grow in confidence is amazing."


SEE ALSO:
'Watch and wait' seizure advice
10 Jun 05 |  Health
Pacemaker stops epilepsy deaths
17 Dec 04 |  Health


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