Therapeutic brain hypothermia, its mechanisms of action, and its prospects as a treatment for epilepsy

Gholam K. Motamedi, Ronald P. Lesser, Stefano Vicini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Summary Cooling the core body temperature to 32-35°C, is almost standard practice for conditions such as cardiac arrest in adults, and perinatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in neonates. Limited clinical data, and more extensive animal experiments, indicate that hypothermia could help control seizures, and could be applied directly to the brain using implantable devices. These data have fostered further research to evaluate whether cooling would be a viable means to treat refractory epilepsy. Although the effect of temperature on cellular physiology has long been recognized, with possibly dual effects on pyramidal cells and interneurons, the exact mechanisms underlying its beneficial effects, in particular in epilepsy, are yet to be discovered. This article reviews currently available clinical and laboratory data with a focus on cellular mechanisms of action and prospects of hypothermia as a treatment for intractable seizures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-970
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Animal models of epilepsy
  • Cellular mechanisms
  • Cooling devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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