World First Epilepsy Device Fitted in UK Boy's Skull

The Picostim neurotransmitter is made by UK company Amber Therapeutics. (File/Reuters)
The Picostim neurotransmitter is made by UK company Amber Therapeutics. (File/Reuters)
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World First Epilepsy Device Fitted in UK Boy's Skull

The Picostim neurotransmitter is made by UK company Amber Therapeutics. (File/Reuters)
The Picostim neurotransmitter is made by UK company Amber Therapeutics. (File/Reuters)

A boy with severe epilepsy has become the first patient in the world to trial a new device fitted in their skull to control seizures.
The neurostimulator, which sends electrical signals deep into his brain, has reduced Oran Knowlson’s daytime seizures by 80%.
Speaking to BBC, his mother, Justine, said he was happier and had a “much better quality of life”.
The surgery was carried out in October as part of a trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London when Oran - who is now 13 - was 12.
Oran, from Somerset, has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a treatment-resistant form of epilepsy which he developed at the age of three.
Since then he has suffered several daily seizures ranging from two dozen to hundreds.
Prior to surgery, Oran’s mum explained how Oran’s epilepsy dominated his life: "It has robbed him of all of his childhood."
She told BBC Oran had a range of different seizures, including those where he fell to the ground, shook violently, and lost consciousness.
She said at times he would stop breathing and require emergency medication to resuscitate him.
Oran has autism and ADHD, but Justine says his epilepsy is by far the biggest hurdle: "I had a fairly bright three-year-old, and within a few months of his seizures commencing he deteriorated rapidly, and lost a lot of skills."
Oran is part of the CADET project - a series of trials assessing the safety and effectiveness of deep brain stimulation for severe epilepsy.
The partnership involves Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London, King’s College Hospital and the University of Oxford.



2 Amur Tiger Cubs Have their 1st Public Outing at German Zoo

Two Amur tiger cubs, Tochka and Timur, have their first public outing at Cologne Zoo in Cologne, Thursday July 18, 2024. (Thomas Banneyer/dpa via AP)
Two Amur tiger cubs, Tochka and Timur, have their first public outing at Cologne Zoo in Cologne, Thursday July 18, 2024. (Thomas Banneyer/dpa via AP)
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2 Amur Tiger Cubs Have their 1st Public Outing at German Zoo

Two Amur tiger cubs, Tochka and Timur, have their first public outing at Cologne Zoo in Cologne, Thursday July 18, 2024. (Thomas Banneyer/dpa via AP)
Two Amur tiger cubs, Tochka and Timur, have their first public outing at Cologne Zoo in Cologne, Thursday July 18, 2024. (Thomas Banneyer/dpa via AP)

Two Amur tiger cubs had their first public outing Thursday at Cologne Zoo in Germany, one of several zoos that have sought to help keep up the numbers of the rare big cats.
The cubs — a female named Tochka and a male named Timur — were born in mid-April and now weigh about 13 kilos each. The pair explored their enclosure together with their mother, 13-year-old Katinka.
Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, are found in the far east of Russia and northeastern China and are considered endangered.
“We are very happy and proud of the offspring of this highly threatened species,” zoo curator Alexander Sliwa said in a statement, which said that 240 Amur tigers in zoos are currently part of a European program to help conserve and breed the animals.
Katinka was brought from the zoo in Nuremberg last summer in exchange for Cologne tiger Akina after the existing pairs at both zoos had long failed to produce offspring. She quickly hit it off with 9-year-old Sergan, the cubs' father, the zoo said.