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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid