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Reducing Seizure Frequency Using Cooling of the Head and Neck

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) Identifier:
First received: August 12, 2003
Last updated: January 24, 2017
Last verified: June 13, 2008

Doctors use cooling of the brain to help stop seizures. This procedure is usually accomplished through surgery. Cooling of the face and scalp may also cool the brain, avoiding the need for surgery.

The purpose of this study is to assess a head-neck cooling device that the patient can wear. Researchers will determine whether the device can change the frequency of seizures in people with epilepsy.

Study participants must be 21 years of age or older and must experience seizures that occur once a week on a regular basis. Participants will be asked to keep a detailed seizure diary for a 12-week period before the date of the first cooling session. For each of the four cooling sessions, participants will be admitted to the hospital overnight. They will undergo a physical and neurological exam and an EEG (electroencephalogram). They will also swallow a temperature-sensor pill. Participants will have one 60-minute cooling session once a week for 4 weeks. Investigators will paste temperature-sensing electrodes on the scalp, forearm, abdomen, and leg. Participants will then be fitted with the cooling unit and the session will begin.

Condition Intervention Phase
Epilepsy Seizures Device: Head and Neck Cooling System Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Cooling of the Head and Neck to Reduce Seizure Frequency: A Pilot Study

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Identify optimal cooling parameters,namely duration and frequency of cooling for reducing seizure frequency.

Estimated Enrollment: 5
Study Start Date: August 11, 2003
Estimated Study Completion Date: May 22, 2007
Detailed Description:
Previous experimental as well as clinical reports have clearly shown that cooling of the brain does have inhibitory effects on epileptiform discharges and seizures. We hypothesize that mild cooling of the brain has anti-epileptic effects in epileptic patients who either have no identifiable seizure foci, who have multiple foci, or who have frequent localization-related seizures that are refractory to antiepileptic drugs. We have studied the feasibility and safety of a head-neck cooling device in 10 adult normal volunteers, and found that the head-neck cooling was feasible and safe, without significant complaints or problems voiced by the subjects. Overall, a slight reduction of core temperature was shown. Since cooling on a twice-a-week basis was well tolerated by normal volunteers, we would like to extend our study to patients with epilepsy to learn the optimal duration and frequency of head-neck cooling in terms of reducing seizure frequency. This will be a pilot study, as directed by PIRC and the IRB, in which we will evaluate 60 minutes of cooling performed once a week for 4 weeks in 5 epileptic patients. We will then report the results to PIRC and the IRB before we proceed with further study.

Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

A minimum of one documented seizure of any type per a 1-week period.

21 years or older, and able to cooperate with the cooling procedures.

On a stable antiepileptic drug (AED) regimen, as determined by history and by AED plasma levels as measured in the CC OPD.

The ability to maintain a daily seizure calendar, either independently or with help from a family member.

No history of intestinal problems or history of intestinal surgery.

Must be able to swallow medication in capsule form.


Female patients who are pregnant.

Those patients under 21 years of age.

Those patients who may have difficulty swallowing a large capsule, or describing their feelings and experiences related to the cooling sessions.

Those patients with a history of intestinal problems or intestinal surgery

Those patients with progressive neurological disorders

Those sensitive to coldness

History of severe 'ice-cream' headache

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00067210

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  More Information

Responsible Party: Susumu Sato, M.D./National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health Identifier: NCT00067210     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 030272
Study First Received: August 12, 2003
Last Updated: January 24, 2017

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Neurologic Manifestations
Signs and Symptoms processed this record on June 23, 2017