Pinpoint Cure for Epilepsy

1 decade 1 year 3 weeks ago Wednesday, August 29 2007 Aug 29, 2007 Wednesday, August 29, 2007 12:06:51 AM CDT August 29, 2007 in News

Wired up in hospital to monitor the onset of an epileptic seizure, a condition which for Caroline Martin can't be managed with drugs.

"I knew it was dangerous because the whole time if you had a seizure and dropped it, it could cause damage to things as well as yourself...cooking, hot liquids, decorating, climbing ladders, all things I didn't do before, but I do now," she said.

And now she can, because Caroline is one of the first patients to benefit from pioneering research on brain scans.

"The team here from the national society for epilepsy have brought together a series of advanced techniques using this MRI scanner to pinpoint with unprecedented accuracy the exact site of seizures in the brain so they can target surgeries to remove the source of the epilepsy."

"We're looking for a physical abnormality in the hardware of the brain that is giving rise to the short circuit that is an epileptic seizure. In Caroline's case for example, we showed an abnormality in the part of the brain known as the temporal lobe," explained John Duncan of the National Society for Epilepsy.

"In this area shown in white is where the brain has been removed. It's about three and a half to four centimeters from front to back."

Now Caroline can do everyday activities that were once too dangerous, her life now transformed.

"Rather than a 'cared-for' I've become a carer," she said. 

The new techniques pinpointed abnormalities in 29 percent of patients whose brains appeared normal in other scans. A breakthrough of hope for epileptics like Caroline. 

Britain's National Society for Epilepsy conducted the study. Researchers stress that removing any part of the brain is dangerous.

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