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C. A Device that Significantly Decreases Epileptic Seizures

Narrator: This is Science Today. A nationwide team of researchers led by UCLA, has found that after one year of therapy, an electric, pacemaker-like device can significantly benefit epileptics who don't respond to standard drug treatment for their seizures. Evelyn Tecoma, director of the Epilepsy Center at the University of California, San Diego, says the device, called the vagus nerve stimulator, is implanted in the chest and delivers small pulses of electricity to the vagus nerve.

Tecoma: The vagus nerve is a nerve that's present in the neck. There's one on each side. It's in the general vicinity of the carotid artery, which you can feel if you take your pulse in your neck.

Narrator: This form of therapy, known as vagus nerve stimulation, or VNS, reduces seizures by changing blood flow in the brain. Tecoma says most patients do well with the stimulus coming on every five to ten minutes.

Tecoma: It comes on for about thirty seconds and it provides just a little stimulus of electricity that the patient can perceive, but it's not painful. It's not uncomfortable and it produces a little tickling or little tingling sensation in the neck.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.