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New method identifies brain regions most likely to cause epilepsy seizures

Scientists have developed a new way to detect which areas of the brain contribute most greatly to epilepsy seizures, according to a PLOS Computational Biology study. The strategy, devised by Marinho Lopes of the University of Exeter and colleagues, could help surgeons select specific brain areas for removal to stop seizures.

BREAKTHROUGH: SCANNING THE BRAIN FOR AUTISM

Brain scan method may help detect autism Date: April 14, 2016 Source: Brown University Summary: Scientists report a new degree of success in using brain scans to distinguish between adults diagnosed with autism and people without the disorder, an advance that could lead to the development of a diagnostic tool. Many doctors and scientists think they could improve the diagnosis and understanding of autism spectrum disorders if they had reliable means to identify specific abnormalities in the brain. Such “biomarkers” have proven elusive, often because methods that show promise with one group of patients fail when applied to another. In a new study in Nature Communications, however, scientists report a new degree of success. Their proposed biomarker worked with a comparably high de...

New Wearable EEG!

Researchers have developed a wearable electroencephalogram (EEG) device that can detect and record seizure activity in epilepsy patients in the outpatient setting, they reported on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society in Philadelphia. The so-called EEG Patch, a small, waterproof, scalp-mounted device, was designed to help patients more accurately track their seizures, Mark Lehmkuhle, PhD, a research assistant professor in neurosurgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, who presented the findings at the meeting, told the Neurology Today Conference Reporter ahead of the session.   The EEG Patch is designed to be fixed to a part of the patient’s scalp where seizures are known to originate based on EEG recorded in-hospital during a traditio...

For people with epilepsy, the mental health treatments are not clearly understood

Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety are often neglected or misunderstood in people who also have co-morbidity with epilepsy. This is just one of the subjects of discussion at the sixth annual Queensland Epilepsy Symposium – Through the lifespan. Jointly hosted by Epilepsy Queensland, Griffith University, University of Queensland and St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane, the event will be held at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital on Friday 20 November.

Genetic testing for pediatric epilepsy can be complicated, but beneficial

The use of genetic testing in pediatric epilepsy is complicated and the list of known epilepsy genes changes almost daily. The steps from a doctor initially evaluating a patient when they first demonstrate the symptoms of epilepsy to genetic diagnosis remain complex. In a review paper published today inEpilepsia, physicians from Nationwide Children’s Hospital discuss some of the genetic testing methods available for physicians, along with their advantages and disadvantages. The paper briefly reviews common pediatric epilepsy syndromes with strong genetic association, in hopes of providing a potentially useful algorithm for genetic testing in treatment resistant epilepsy. “Genetic testing can play an important role in the care provided to patients with epilepsy,” said Anup...

Childhood Epilepsy: New Data on Prognosis

Children With Epilepsy The diagnosis of epilepsy is life-changing for children and their parents. It provokes a host of questions (many of which are addressed in my book, Epilepsy: 199 Answers).[1] Two of the most critical questions are “What caused the seizure?” and “Will it happen again?” The answers will define the course of epilepsy for that individual child and assist family members in adjusting their lives accordingly. An accurate prognosis is crucial for parents and caregivers, because waiting for that next seizure can cause significant stress.[2] Diagnosis and Prognosis Clinicians approach the question of etiology by obtaining a thorough family and patient history, neurologic examination, brain neuroimaging, electroencephalography, and other tests. Informati...

How to Spot Epilepsy in Seniors When It Looks Like Dementia

Older adults are fastest-growing epilepsy population The fastest-growing segment of epilepsy patients in the United States is over age 65, and their condition is potentially difficult to diagnose. One reason is that seniors often don’t experience epilepsy symptoms until these later years, and they rarely have convulsions. Instead, they have different, more understated symptoms, says epileptologist Andreas Alexopoulos, MD. These symptoms include: Confusion Suspended awareness Hearing or seeing things Sporadic memory loss “When older adults have a seizure, their symptoms may in fact be mistaken for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression or just normal aging,” Dr. Alexopoulos says. Seniors tend to develop focal epilepsy, which impacts only a small portion of the brain. As a resul...

Using Speech to Unlock Neurological Mysteries

NPR: A Doctor Unlocks Mysteries of the Brain By Talking And Watching The heavyset man with a bandage on his throat is having trouble repeating a phrase. “No ifs…” he says to the medical students and doctors around his bed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Can I hear you say no ifs, ands or buts?” says Dr. Allan Ropper, the Harvard neurologist in charge. The patient tries again. “No ifs, buts, ands or,” he says. Ropper’s heard enough. “I think he’s probably had a little left temporal, maybe angular gyrus-area stroke,” he tells the students and doctors, once they’re assembled outside the patient’s room. A brain scan confirms his diagnosis. Later, Ropper tells me that the patient’s inability to...

SEEG an Option for Difficult-to-Localize Epilepsy in Kids

(via Medscape) At least half of a small group of children and adolescents with difficult-to-localize refractory focal epilepsy was rendered seizure-free or much improved with stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) methods, new research shows. The procedure is also associated with minimal blood loss and significantly less morbidity than are older mapping techniques. “The patients we studied are not the usual group of patients with seizures that are easy to localize and chances of them becoming seizure-free are over 80%,” Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez, MD, Epilepsy Center, Cleveland Clinic Cleveland, Ohio, told Medscape Medical News. “We are talking about patients whose seizures are really difficult to localize, they have failed medication and even surgery so they are really a diffi...

BREAKTHROUGH: Early Detection of Refractory Epilepsy in Children

65 million people around the world today suffer from epilepsy, a condition of the brain that may trigger an uncontrollable seizure at any time, often for no known reason. A seizure is a disruption of the electrical communication between neurons, and someone is said to have epilepsy if they experience two or more unprovoked seizures separated by at least 24 hours. Epilepsy is the most common chronic disease in pediatric neurology, with about 0.5­–1% of children developing epilepsy during their lifetime. A further 30–40% of epileptic children develop refractory epilepsy, a particular type of epilepsy that cannot be managed by antiepileptic drugs (AED). Regardless of etiology, children with refractory epilepsy are invariably exposed to a variety of physical, psychological and social morbiditi...

First RNS Patient in the South Doing Well 30 Days Later

Neurologists implant neurostimulator in brain to control seizures It has been 30 days since neurologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham turned on the neurostimulator implanted in Sarah Conner’s brain to control her seizures. In that short time, she can already say, “I’m doing pretty good.” Conner, 24, has suffered from seizures for 10 years. In June, she became the first patient in the Southeast to receive a new device called a responsive neurostimulator since its approval by the Federal Drug Administration last year. UAB neurosurgeon Kristen Riley, M.D., implanted the RNS system, developed by NeuroPace, into Conner’s brain. It includes an electrical generator, about the size of a flash drive, which is implanted in the skull. Electrodes are run to ...

Top Rated US Hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, (pictured above) is the best hospital for neurology and neurosurgery, according to the US News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings for 2014-2015 released today. The Mayo Clinic claimed the top spot this year over Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, which topped last year’s annual ranking but fell to third place behind New York–Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, New York City. Rankings are based largely on objective data on hospital performance, such as patient survival rates and resources like nurse staffing. Each hospital’s reputation, as determined by a survey of physician specialists, is also a factor.

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