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Brain MRI May Flag SUDEP Risk

MRI of the brain can detect potentially life-threatening brainstem damage in patients with epilepsy, suggesting the test could be used as a biomarker to identify those at risk for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), new research shows.   “When we looked at the brain stem of people who died from SUDEP, we saw that they had volume loss in certain regions of the brain stem, and those regions are involved in autonomic control, so control of breathing and heart beats, et cetera”, lead author, Susanne Mueller, MD, associate professor, radiology and biomedical imaging, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), told Medscape Medical News.

First Guideline on Presurgical Brain Mapping for Epilepsy

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has released the first evidence-based guideline comparing procedures used for determining brain lateralization prior to epilepsy surgery and for predicting post-surgical language and memory deficits.

How technology is reducing seizures in patients with epilepsy

Via Miami Herald When 29-year-old Krystle Thrasher was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2011, she often had 10 to 15 seizures a month despite taking medication to help control her seizure activity. “After a seizure, I would be tired and just want to go to bed,” said Thrasher, a paralegal who lives in Sunrise with her husband and 9-month-old son. Epilepsy, the fourth most common neurological disorder, is defined by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. Seizure frequency varies depending on the type of seizure disorder, with some patients experiencing several seizures daily while others don’t have seizures for years at a time.

Texting Can Change Brain Waves

Textual communication using smartphones can change rhythm of brain waves Sending text messages on a smartphone can change the rhythm of brain waves, according to a new study published in Epilepsy & Behavior. People communicate increasingly via text messaging, though little is known on the neurological effects of smartphone use. To find out more about how our brains work during textual communication using smartphones, a team led by Mayo Clinic researcher William Tatum analyzed data from 129 patients. Their brain waves were monitored over a period of 16 months through electroencephalograms (EEGs) combined with video footage. Dr. Tatum, professor of neurology and director of the epilepsy monitoring unit and epilepsy center at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida found a unique ‘text...

Glutamate imaging may guide surgery in ‘nonlesional’ epilepsy

Glutamate imaging may be capable of identifying the focus of epileptic seizures in patients who appear to have nonlesional epilepsy on standard imaging techniques, researchers report in Science Translational Medicine. The findings are based on just four patients, but the team chose to publish the results to speed wider validation of the technique, saying that it could lead to substantial improvements in the treatment of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. “Because it is… well established that patients with lesional epilepsy have better surgical outcomes than those with nonlesional epilepsy, new neuroimaging techniques capable of detecting subtle lesions could potentially improve patient care and increase the chance of seizure freedom after surgery”, say Kathryn Davis (Hospital of the Un...

Scanning the brain’s magnetic fields offers hope for epilepsy patients

Stewart Duguid used to have an epileptic seizure every fortnight. He never knew when they  would strike,  and they proved impossible to control with medication. “I had the tonic clonic seizures, the ones where you fall to the ground and shake,” the 26-year-old said. “I’d wake up exhausted and need to get my breath back.” However, for the past year he has been living seizure-free after being among the first Australians to have a MEG machine scan his brain’s magnetic fields.

VIDEO: Robotic System Implants Electrodes in the Brain

UAMS is only the 5th center in the country to get a robotic system to implant electrodes in the brain to identify the source of seizures. The system is called ROSA, and it cuts the time to implant the electrodes down from 10 hours to less than 3. It also eliminates human error and increases accuracy. This is life-changing technology for many where MRI does not show a tumor or lesion on the brain, when electrodes are needed to find the source of the seizures. “So the old way of putting electrodes in for monitoring seizures when you don’t have an actual lesion to see on an MRI that you can remove you have to put electrodes in to record electrically,” explains Dr. Serletis.

Researchers examine link between sleep difficulties and brain volume

Sleep difficulties may be linked to faster rates of decline in brain volume, according to a study published in the September 3, 2014, online issue of Neurology-, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Sleep has been proposed to be “the brain’s housekeeper”, serving to repair and restore the brain. The study included 147 adults 20 and 84 years old. Researchers examined the link between sleep difficulties, such as having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, and brain volume. All participants underwent two MRI brain scans, an average of 3.5 years apart, before completing a questionnaire about their sleep habits. A total of 35 percent of the participants met the criteria for poor sleep quality, scoring an average of 8.5 out of 21 points on the...

MRI-Guided Laser Surgery Can Relieve Seizures

When Andy Salazar Sr., was 3, he was playing with a ball in the back of a parked pick-up truck and when the ball bounced out, he jumped out with it and landed on his head. That fall would cause him to develop epilepsy and have seizures for the rest of his life. Until now. Salazar, 39, of Palm Beach, is one of 11 patients who recently had the Visualase MRI-guided laser surgery at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine under the care of neurosurgeon Dr. Jonathan Jagid. Salazar had been asking doctors if there was something he could do besides take medicine for his epilepsy. “I was relieved and happy as a pig in you know what,” he said, when he learned of the surgery. The Visualase MRI-guided laser surgery offers patients, what doctors hope, the same benefits of the more-drastic ...

Microbleeds important to consider in brain-related treatments, UCI neurologist says

Stroke prevention strategies should address both blood clotting, protection of vessels Irvine, Calif. — As growing numbers of America’s baby boomers reach retirement, neuroscientists are expanding their efforts to understand and treat one of the leading health issues affecting this population: age-related neurological deterioration, including stroke and dementia. One factor coming under increased study is cerebral microbleeds, experienced by nearly 20 percent of people by age 60 and nearly 40 percent by age 80. Research into these small areas of brain bleeding, caused by a breakdown of miniscule blood vessels, is shedding light on how the condition may contribute to these neurological changes.

New MRI Guided Laser Surgery Proving Effective For Epilepsy

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Sept. 13, 2013 – Melanie Vandyke can’t wait to get her driver’s license. “I just want to get back out in the world,” she said. For nearly 15 years, Vandyke’s world was severely restricted by epileptic seizures during which she couldn’t control her speech or actions and didn’t know what she was doing or saying, and afterwards couldn’t remember what had happened. These unpredictable episodes prevented her from driving, pursuing a career, having a social life, living independently and doing countless other things that most people take for granted. But since undergoing a cutting-edge, minimally invasive surgical procedure called MRI-guided laser ablation at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Vandyke is poised to reclaim her life. “The surgery, I do believe, has turned my...

Blu’s battle with epilepsy captures the hearts of Facebook users who donate £1,800 for MRI scan

The adorable four-year-old has epilepsy, a condition common among dogs. But to get on to the Royal Veterinary College project to create a new dog food, which it is hoped will help control the condition, Blu’s new owners Victoria and Robert McGuckin needed to pay £1,800 for an MRI scan. And so the Kesgrave couple posted his story on Facebook. Within four days they had raised the money with donations from across the world and a video showing Blu fitting had more than 27,000 views, while his page Blu’s Tale has been shared more than 800 times. Staggered the couple, who have two sons Kienan, 13 and Aaron, 12, said they are “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support from people. “It is just amazing,” said Mrs McGuckin, 35. “All I did was post a picture of Blu with the message ‘10,000 likes migh...

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