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Surgery successful treatment option for certain epilepsy seizures

5 May, 2004

A ten year study shows that surgery is not only effective, but the preferred treatment, for select epilepsy patients.

Researchers at The Mayo Clinic
reported that 73 per cent of the 491 clinic patients were either
seizure-free or experienced seizures only when medication was
discontinued.

The
study included people who underwent epilepsy surgery between 1988 and
1998 and patient were monitored for an average of six years.

The
study, led by Dr Gregory Cascino, chair of the Mayo Clinic Division of
Epilepsy, showed that if seizures occurred following epilepsy surgery,
they usually did so in the first year - and that this first-year
recurrence was a reliable indicator of the procedure's long-term
success.

Dr Cascino told the
Annual Meeting of the American
Academy of Neurology
that 30-40 per cent of partial epilepsy patients
do not respond to medication.

He added:

'This
data strengthens what we've long suspected, that is, that individuals
with intractable partial epilepsy should be referred as early as
possible in the course of treatment to comprehensive epilepsy centres
for consideration of surgery.

'Most
patients with intractable partial seizures that originate in the
temporal lobe experience two to four seizures a month. However, even
one seizure per month may radically and negatively affect a person's
quality of life - so any new relief we can offer patients is a real
gain. Our data suggest that surgical treatments, in some cases, are
more effective in reducing seizure activity than other forms of
therapy.'