CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Almost three and a half million people suffer from epilepsy – a disorder of the brain that can cause seizures. For some, these seizures can be controlled with medication, others will need brain surgery, which can be risky. But now, new technology is helping doctors pinpoint what’s causing the seizures better than ever before.
Gabriela “Gabi” Sable first started experiencing signs of epilepsy when she was just 11 – not long after, seizures started.
“People’s parents actually went to the school and told the school that they didn’t want me to hang out with their kids,” Gabi tells Ivanhoe.
Multiple hospitalizations and MRIs could not pinpoint what was causing the seizure.
Pediatric epileptologist at the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center, Elia Pestan Knight, MD, says, “Some patients have very small malformations that we cannot see.”
Dr. Pestana Knight knew Gabi’s lesion was in her frontal lobe, but it was too tiny to know exactly where.
“We can, simply, not remove the whole frontal lobe. Those are her dominant lobes for her language and for her ability to write and comprehend the spoken language,” Dr. Pestana Knight explains.
The most common MRI used for diagnosis is something called the 3 Tesla – that’s the size of the magnet. But now, there’s a more powerful 7 Tesla MRI, which was able to determine exactly where Gabi’s lesion was.
Dr. Pestana Knight adds, “That lesion was far away from the areas of her speech.”
Dr. Pestana Knight was able to perform a robotic laser ablation therapy to remove the lesion, and now, Gabi is seizure-free and doing all the things she was never able to do before, including hiking Peru’s Machu Picchu.
Gabi was part of a clinical trial on the 7 Tesla MRI. It has now been approved by the FDA and is expected to help hundreds of thousands of people suffering with hard to detect lesions that cause epilepsy.