News / Health

Study: Epilepsy Surgery Is Effective

No seizures reported in half the patients decades later

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

A new study of epilepsy patients who had surgery to treat their illness decades ago indicates that seizures can be controlled safely and effectively with surgery.

Doctors in the United States operate on the brain of a 2-year-old boy who suffers from epileptic seizures.
Doctors in the United States operate on the brain of a 2-year-old boy who suffers from epileptic seizures.
The study's author suggests surgery could be used more often to treat epileptic seizures.

The story begins about 10 years ago, when neurosurgeon Matthew Smyth came to the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri, to focus on epilepsy surgery.

"And one of my predecessors, Dr. Sidney Goldring, used to perform these surgeries. And I inherited a large stack of three loose-leaf binders filled with about 350 records from his epilepsy surgery patients and realized that many of those patients could still be identified and located and interviewed."

Smyth and his colleagues tracked down about one-third of those patients who had epilepsy surgery between 1967 and 1990. After all those decades, about half the patients were still completely free of seizures.

Previous studies had similar results, but they followed patients for only for about five or ten years after surgery. "So the fact that it was durable and prolonged for 20, 30, even 40 years in some cases, was meaningful new information for us," Smyth said.

The patients were also asked to complete a 31-point quality of life questionnaire, and "about 80 percent of the patients had improved quality of life by this measurement tool that we used,"  he added.

Still, surgery - especially brain surgery - is a scary prospect.

"As you can imagine, many families and patients are frightened by the idea of epilepsy surgery, or any kind of surgery. But again, with modern techniques, it's a very safe approach to these patients."

There are alternatives to surgery in a variety of anti-seizure drugs.  But these drugs can have significant side effects, they're very expensive, and Smith says that in about one-third of patients, they just don't work.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs