Jan 17, 2001 — A small device similar in size to a pacemaker is being called a breakthrough in epilepsy treatment. It has proven to be an extremely successful treatment for epilepsy patients who do not respond to medication. The device sends mild electrical stimulation to the brain to diminish or completely stop seizures. Canton-Potsdam Hospital in Potsdam is the first hospital in North Country to offer the vagus nerve stimulation or VNS to its epilepsy patients in the Syracuse to Burlington region. The small device is implanted in the chest. A wire, connected to the generator, is tunneled under the skin and coils at the end to wrap around the vagus nerve in the neck. The device delivers preprogrammed electrical pulses to the vagus nerve 24 hours a day. Todd Moe spoke with Dr. Lucas Koberda, a neurologist on staff at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, who's offering this new therapy option to patients. Koberda says the device, referred to as a "pacemaker for the brain" provides new hope for a higher quality of life for patients with uncontrollable epilepsy.