First pediatric patient in Texas to use new device against seizures

HOUSTON – With different kinds of procedures involving electrodes in the brain, doctors have been able to stop symptoms from Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome, depression and now the first pediatric patient in Texas says they're saving her from seizures.

Brandi Pipes hopes to publish a book one day.

“I’m collecting stories from epileptics all over the world,” Pipes said.

But complications from epilepsy make independent living, driving, even reading impossible.

“Reading started hurting me," Pipes said. "Literally, I just break down and cry, like I get a headache real bad and everything and I used to love to read but now it hurts."

Since the battle began eight years ago, Texas Children's Hospital neurosurgeon, Dr. Daniel Curry has performed four surgeries on Pipes.

Last month, she became the first pediatric patient in Texas to get the device, Neuropace RNS, which is almost like a pacemaker in the brain. It is trained to recognize seizures and bring them to a halt before Brandi knows they’re happening.

“This new technology allows us to place a stimulation system, that when the abnormal rhythms come up, it can be stimulated and reduced to normal rhythms without having to remove that tissue,” Curry said.

Curry placed four electrodes in Pipe’s head. They record her brain activity in real-time. From those recordings, Curry will know where the seizures come from so he can turn on the device and turn off her seizures.

Pipes said she expects to be a new person and return to the old hobbies she loves.

“Literally the letters, words just start moving so hopefully this surgery fixes that and I can start to read,” Pipes said.

Brandi has an unusual form of epilepsy where she sees things that are not there, including people and spots. Curry said her seizures manifested into this unique form after many surgeries but he said he is confident with her age and the location of the seizures, she should be seizure-free from now on.