MRI offers new hope for severe epilepsy sufferers
CIHR researchers say MRIs can make surgical treatment an option for more patientsAs Epilepsy Awareness Month approaches, researchers have found a way to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect minute brain lesions in people with severe epilepsy, making surgical treatment potentially available to many more patients.
Epilepsy affects about 1% of the general population. In many patients with epilepsy, seizures cannot be controlled with medication but surgery can help if a lesion is identified in the brain.
The study, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and led by Dr. Andrea Bernasconi at McGill University, used new automated techniques for improving the detection of brain lesions that had been overlooked by conventional radiological inspection.
"The advanced methods we propose could reduce the complexity and cost of pre-surgical evaluation, and improve our understanding of the cause of epilepsy," said Dr. Bernasconi, whose findings were published in the January issue of Epilepsia http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1528-1167.2006.00379.x
"Health research holds the key to improved health and quality of life for Canadians and people throughout the world and Dr. Bernasconi's research, which will positively affect people suffering from various brain disorders, is a testament to this," said Dr. Remi Quirion, Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) who is also available to comment on the study and its further implications.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to close to 10,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada. http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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