Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive technique that can be used to
stimulate brain activity and gather information about brain function. It is very useful
when studying the areas of the brain related to motor activity (motor cortex, corticospinal
tract, and corpus callosum).
Epilepsy is a condition associated with seizures as a result of an over excitable cerebral
cortex. Despite the introduction of several new antiepileptic medications, less than half
of the patients diagnosed with partial epilepsy are well controlled. However, studies have
shown that non-invasive stimulation of the brain can decrease the excitability of the
Researchers are interested in the potential therapeutic effects of TMS on patients with
epilepsy that have responded poorly to standard medication. This study will use TMS to
decrease the excitability of the areas of the brain responsible for seizures.
The purpose of this protocol is to study the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation
(TMS) at 1 Hz on the excitability of the seizure focus in patients with poorly controlled
epilepsy refractory to pharmacological treatments. 1 Hz TMS is a rate proven to induce long
term depression in animal models and reported to decrease the excitability of both human and
animal cerebral cortex.
Age 5 to 60 at entry to protocol.
History of partial or Complex Partial Epilepsy for two or more years.
Patients should be on a stable anti-convulsant regimen defined as unchanged medicines and
dose modifications lower than 20% in the last month. Blood levels of anti-convulsants
will be measured at the beginning of the study, prior to stimulation and after the study
to assure that the type and dose of medication will remain constant.
Seizures not completely responsive to medical treatment (1 or more seizures per week for
at least 6 months) and patients have failed at least two anti-convulsant regimens in the
The patients have a localized seizure focus.
Epilepsy refractory to medical treatments.
No pregnant women (will be tested with urine pregnancy test).
No severe coronary disease.
No metal anywhere in the cranium except the mouth.
No intracardiac lines.
No increased intracranial pressure as expressed by the presence of papilledema.
No cardiac pacemakers.
Must not be taking neuroleptic or antidepressant medications.
No progressive neurologic disease.