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Keagan’s Cure: Laser Zaps Epilepsy

Magnetic Resonance Imaging - Human brain side view

Gelastic seizures are epileptic events characterized by bouts of laughter. Laughter-like vocalization is usually combined with facial contraction in the form of a smile. Gelastic epilepsy is very rare and occurs slightly more commonly in boys than in girls. Of every 1000 children with epilepsy, only one or at the very most, two children will have gelastic epilepsy. (SOURCE: www.epilepsyfoundation.org, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth)

The gelastic and other types of seizures are often very difficult to control. It is rare for anyone to have their seizures controlled for more than a few weeks or months at a time. The best outcome is probably seen in those children (and adults) who have a benign tumor in the hypothalamus (the hamartoma or astrocytoma) causing their epilepsy. Successful surgery in these children and adults may improve not just their seizure control but also improve their behavioral and even learning problems. (SOURCE: epilepsy.org.uk)
TREATMENT: The type of treatment prescribed will depend on several factors including the frequency and severity of the seizures as well as the person's age, overall health, and medical history. The majority of epileptic seizures are controlled through drug therapy. Patients may take a drug called anticonvulsants, to reduce the number of seizures they experience. Patients may also make changes to their diet. In certain cases in which medications and diet are not working, surgery may be used. (SOURCE: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth, www.webmd.com)

LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS: Real-time MRI-guided thermal imaging and laser technology is now being used to destroy lesions in the brain that cause epilepsy and uncontrollable seizures. The surgery is performed by first mapping the area of the brain where the lesion is located using magnetic resonance imaging. The catheter is inserted through the skull in the operating room and then the patient is transferred to an MRI unit where the ablation of the lesion is performed. The MRI confirms probe placement in the target, and the magnetic resonance thermal imaging allows the surgeon to see the ablation of the lesion by the laser heat as it happens with an automatic feedback system that shuts the laser off when the heat approaches nearby critical brain structures. SOURCE: (www.texaschildrens.org)
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