Updates and News

The debilitating disease of epilepsy, as well as its diagnosis and treatment, presents a variety of challenges for today’s clinicians.  While the oft-used techniques and methods have been around for nearly a century (surface EEG monitoring), newer technologies have become available to many of the higher-tier epilepsy centers.

As the technology advances, epilepsy treatments and research are becoming more cross-disciplinary. Neurologists who specialize in epilepsy, and who often provide the first level of diagnosis and treatment, are working more closely with neurosurgeons and neuroscientists to implement novel treatments previously not available.

The unique nature of the path often taken in severe instances of drug-resistant epilepsies offers this cross-disciplinary team remarkable access to the human brain; however, with this access comes new challenges.  Each member of the clinical and research team wants or needs different tools to treat the patient, and often this requires multiple hardware and software systems.

Until recently, most epileptologists would require that the patient be monitored using surface EEG using a certain piece of recording equipment and analysis software.   The neurosurgeon who is tasked with positioning subdural micro and macro electrodes would require a second piece of live monitoring hardware and software, and still a third piece of equipment would be required for the researching neuroscientist in the group.

As Blackrock NeuroMed has gained experience with each of the aforementioned groups, as well as the limitations of other types of equipment, we developed a single system with enough flexibility and sophistication to meet the needs for all. The one system, the CervelloTM Elite, provides the only complete package available in the market today.  Sampling rates of up to 30 kHz across all 256 channels, a variety of digital & analog inputs/outputs, 1080p HD video and remote monitoring capabilities make the Cervello Elite an all-in-one package, which all of the groups involved in the care and treatment of the patient can focus.

The Cervello Elite System is becoming the central hub of  leading epilepsy care and treatment facilities around the world.   View details on the Cervello Elite page or contact one of our sales representatives for additional information.

Today as I waited for my next flight at DFW airport, I received a call from a physician who I’ve never before met in person. Though we were introduced a few months back via email, we’ve never physically met, nor spoken on the phone.

(Rather than making you, the reader, suffer through a litany of ambiguous pronouns, for the sake of this post, let us refer to her as Dr. Jane.)

Dr. Jane is not yet a user of Blackrock Neuromed’s EEG monitoring equipment, but she has learned enough about what we are working to provide the industry that she felt confident that a quick phone call could resolve an issue that she is having with her current vendor.

When I answered the phone Dr. Jane was immediately apologetic. She apologized for taking my time to ask a question about a situation involving a different vendor. After a quick reassurance that I was happy to help however I was able, she proceeded to say, “You guys are the only ones who I can ever get in touch with, and I know you’ll always have a straight forward answer for me.”

Prior to calling me Dr. Jane had made a simple request for a software feature that would make her group’s work much more efficient. Rather than working with Dr. Jane (a long time user of the vendor’s equipment) to understand why the feature is important to her work, she was told that adding any features to the existing software was not possible because development on that product had been locked.

Fortunately, the feature in question is already available in Blackrock Neuromed’s Cervello software, and once additional funding comes through for her facility, Dr. Jane hopes to become a user.

However, that feature is not really what this post is about. The situation illustrates another, often nebulous, point of consideration when deciding on a vendor with which to align your facility for the long term.

How available is the company’s representative? How willing is the company to take user feedback and how is it actually used to focus or shape product and service planning?

A company’s R&D practices are extremely telling in what the goals of the organization are. Sure, all companies need to be profitable to sustain themselves, but that cannot be the only goal. A commitment to indirectly serving the patient population in need through direct service of the medical community must be maintained at all costs.

A declined software feature request here and there may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but perhaps it represents only the tip of iceberg when one considers what is truly at stake.

Blackrock NeuroMed has been busy over the past few months and has been especially involved in some exciting meetings and conferences this month.

Beginning in early November, Blackrock NeuroMed supported and participated in the 6th International Workshop on Seizure Prediction (IWSP). The IWSP is typically held every two years and features talks and posters from clinicians and researchers, focused on providing the patient population most affected by epilepsy some type of normalcy through various methods of notifications to let them know of upcoming seizures. You can read more about the meeting, as well as get additional information about the 2015 meeting in Melbourne, Australia on their website (http://iwsp6.org).

The week following the seizure prediction workshop, Blackrock NeuroMed joined our sister company Blackrock Microsystems at the latest Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, CA. As the research arm of our organization, Blackrock Microsystems presented several new neurophysiology products that we are working to bring to the clinical market at Blackrock NeuroMed. We are awaiting FDA clearance on a number of products that we plan to have available to help clinicians and researchers alike in the next 12-18 months.

Finally, Blackrock NeuroMed continues to travel around the U. S. to complete meetings and equipment demonstrations on a weekly basis. If you are interested in learning more about EEG, ICU, Ambulatory EEG and/or Phase 2 recording equipment, please contact us to learn if we will have representatives and equipment in your area.

We’re looking forward to a strong finish to what has been a great 2013. We are planning to make some exciting announcements about new partnerships soon.

Damon E. Gee, MS

StereoElectroEncephaloGraphy (SEEG) is one of the latest techniques adopted by physicians in the United States to determine the focal point of the onset of a seizure – often referred to as the Epileptogenetic Zone.

In September, the Second North American SEEG Training Course was held in a picturesque and secluded venue situated between Montreal and Quebec City. This training course has become known as a gathering place for many of the world’s leaders in the practice of SEEG techniques and Blackrock NeuroMed® provided eight Cervello EEG systems for course instruction.  Read more →