Implanted Brain Radiator Proposed For Epileptics

Takashi Saito and colleagues at Yamaguchi University in Japan have developed a way to cool the over-heated brains of epileptics.

During a severe epileptic fit, brain cells fire at an increased rate; the temperature of the brain in that area rises. Unfortunately, this rise in temperature in turn causes more nerves to fire, making the fit worse.

Saito and his team have patented a brain-cooling apparatus to be buried in the skull for topically cooling the brain (see illustration). The cooling apparatus consists of a metal plate or wire buried in the skull, and a heat pipe connected to a radiator outside the skull which allows the heat to dissipate.

If this seems like an almost science-fictional solution to the problem, you're more right than you might think.

Fans of the science fiction series Farscape will find this idea familiar. Scorpius (played by Wayne Pygram) is a half-Sebacean, half-Scarran Peacekeeper. His Scarran genetic heritage causes his body, and particularly his brain, to overheat; he compensates with a special suit. Part of the solution is in the form of coolant rods buried inside his brain.

This isn't the only science-fictional medical technology that is just around the corner; consider ultrasound bloodless surgery and regenerated limbs and organs. Thanks to Erik Nodacker for the tip on this story. See the patent application at BRAIN-COOLING APPARATUS TO BE BURIED IN SKULL.

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of - where science meets fiction