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High-Tech Brain Implant Predicts, Prevents Epileptic Seizures (ANL-IN-08-043)

Argonne National Laboratory

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	Prototype of a seven-element cooling probe with cooling head containing inlet and outlet reservoirs for coolant flow.</p>

Prototype of a seven-element cooling probe with cooling head containing inlet and outlet reservoirs for coolant flow.

Technology Marketing Summary

Epilepsy, a seizure disorder, affects nearly 3 million people in the United States and 50 million worldwide. Although medication can help treat epilepsy, it has not eliminated seizures for all who live with the condition. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory—together with researchers from Flint Hills Scientific, LLC, and Biofil, Sarov, Russia—have developed an advanced brain implant system that finds and stops seizures before they happen. This innovation offers potentially life-changing treatment for epilepsy patients and their families.


Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have developed the first automated system that can both reliably predict epileptic seizures in advance of clinical onset and induce local hypothermia to the affected brain region quickly enough to suppress the seizures. This ground-breaking technology consists of miniature brain implants for automatic prediction and control of seizures in humans, with a small external unit for monitoring both patient and system.

The detection device is a surface acoustic wave probe implant, which measures local changes in the brain temperature as a predictor of epileptic neuron activity. The cooling component consists of an array of probes implanted in the brain as a means of rapidly cooling the epileptic zone to suppress seizures. The cooling device and sensor electronics are mounted on the head; a small telemetry system worn around the waist interrogates the sensor readings and triggers the cooling device, on the basis of a decision threshold/algorithm.

The Argonne-developed system has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of epilepsy and improve the quality of life for thousands of epilepsy patients who thus far have been debilitated by seizures. The system is expected to help patients lead more normal lives, operate motor vehicles and machinery, and hold jobs that require continuous alertness.


?    Dramatically increases the effectiveness and convenience of epilepsy treatment

?    Proven more effective in preventing seizures without side effects and more comfortable for patients after implantation

?    Requires only an initial surgical procedure for implantation (as compared with other systems that require periodic surgeries to replace spent parts)

?    Cooling fluid and batteries for delivery and telemetry are external and readily accessible

?    Cost-effective

Applications and Industries

?    Treatment of epilepsy

?    Potential treatment  of other neurological disorders

?    Probe may also be used to evaluate abnormal brain states related to stroke; cognitive, psychiatric, and neurodegenerative disorders; and metabolic abnormalities that directly affect brain function, such as diabetes.

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,165,682
Surface acoustic wave probe implant for predicting epileptic seizures
A system and method for predicting and avoiding a seizure in a patient. The system and method includes use of an implanted surface acoustic wave probe and coupled RF antenna to monitor temperature of the patient's brain, critical changes in the temperature characteristic of a precursor to the seizure. The system can activate an implanted cooling unit which can avoid or minimize a seizure in the patient.
Argonne National Laboratory 04/24/2012
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
ANL-IN-08-043Development - Proof of conceptAvailable02/07/201202/07/2012

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To: Elizabeth Jordan<>