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Entries in seizures (10)

Tuesday
Mar122013

Early Surgery Can Cure Epilepsy in Children, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- For the youngest epilepsy patients for whom medication doesn't work, frontal lobe surgery can stop seizures -- in many cases forever -- a new study published this week in the Annals of Neurology finds.

Doctors say the brain essentially rewires itself to compensate for the removed lobe or lobes.  Where the seizure originates is essentially damaged and so removing it actually helps the health of the brain.

"We have a chance with this surgery to really give people their life back," said Dr. Lara Jehi, lead study author and director of the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center, where about 100 pediatric surgeries are performed each year.

Researchers reviewed 158 patients who underwent frontal lobe epilepsy surgery from 1995 to 2010.  They found that patients who had a shorter duration of epilepsy were almost twice as likely to be seizure-free after surgery.

Epilepsy is a chronic medical condition marked by recurrent seizures, an altered brain function caused by abnormal, excessive or electrical discharges from brain cells.

It affects an estimated three million Americans, or about 1 percent of the population, according to the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy.  About 1 in 4 patients do not respond to medication, and for them, a frontal lobectomy can provide a "cure."

Those with the worst form of epilepsy -- with convulsions and big seizures that include stiffening and shaking -- usually have malfunctions in the frontal lobe, according to Jehi.

Those who are resistant to medication are apt to suffer injuries and accidents.  They are also three to 12 times more prone to sudden death.

"They go to sleep and never wake up," she said.

Most epilepsy patients wait decades before being offered surgery and doctors say more might seek this option.

"We found that the mere fact of time -- waiting too long before you do surgery -- is the most harmful thing you can do to a patient's brain," Jehi said.

Patients who have surgery within five years of epilepsy onset have an 80 percent to 90 percent chance of being seizure-free for life, she said.

"If you wait more than five years, it drops to 10 percent," she said.

Surgery may sound daunting, but Jehi said the mortality rate is less than .02 percent.  And the earlier it is done, the better the outcome.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun122012

John Bryson: Did Seizures Lead to Car Accidents?

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Now that Secretary of Commerce John Bryson has taken medical leave after a seizure apparently caused him to hit two cars in California, medical experts are scratching their heads about how a seizure could have caused the chain of events that led to the accidents, Bryson's hospitalization and his eventual leave of absence.

"There are several different types of seizures," Dr. Robert Fisher, professor of neurology and the director of the Stanford Epilepsy Center in California, said.  "The one called complex partial allows a person to operate in a dream-like state over a period of seconds to minutes.  She or he could operate a car, but judgment, reflexes and thinking would be impaired for several minutes.  If [the accident] was due to a seizure, it is possible either for it to have been a cluster of a few seizures, or one seizure with a long aftermath of confusion, called 'postictal.'"

Bryson was found unconscious behind the wheel on Saturday and cited by police for leaving the scene of an accident after he rear-ended a Buick that had stopped and was waiting for a train to pass.

After the initial accident, Bryson got out of his car, spoke to the three males in the Buick, "then left the scene, hitting the same car as he left the scene," according to police.  Five minutes later Bryson allegedly hit a second vehicle containing a man and woman.  He was not charged and passed a blood-alcohol test Saturday night.

A statement from the Commerce Department released early Monday suggested that Bryson had some sort of seizure.  Such a claim raises many questions about what exactly happened to the secretary in Los Angeles Saturday night, and whether or not he was in the right state of mind to make the decision to continue driving.

Seizures are a neurological disorder that cause a temporary disturbance of behavior or consciousness.  They affect the non-dominant side of the brain -- the right side in most people.  During a seizure, experts say, the sufferer might be able to speak full sentences.

Dr. Fisher said that if a person is driving when he or she has an epileptic seizure, it can cause a driver to crash, and possibly drive off in a confused state.  It's entirely possible that the person having the seizure might have little to no recollection of the incident, he said.

Dr. Richard Kim, Director of the Hoag Epilepsy Center in Newport Beach, Calif., also says that Bryson could have had a complex partial seizure.  In such cases, he said, the person having the seizure appears to be staring or fumbling, and loses awareness of his or her surroundings. Kim adds that if the complex partial seizure had been continuing, Bryson would not have been able to get out of the car and speak to the three men in the first car he struck, so it is impossible that he was having a seizure the entire time.

As Dr. Fisher pointed out, a possible explanation for Bryson's behavior Saturday night is what is called a "postictal state," where the sufferer continues to have a disturbance after the seizure stops.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May232012

Epilepsy: ‘Miracle Diet’ Prevents Seizures; Scientists May Know Why

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While neurologists have known that a high-fat and very low-carb diet, known as a ketogenic diet, reduces seizures in epileptic patients who are resistant to medical therapy, the “why” to it all has always been a mystery.

But today, some scientists say they may have found the answer. Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School said seizures might be linked to a protein that changes metabolism in the brain, which is why patients respond so well to the ketogenic diet.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures, or convulsions, over time. The seizures represent episodes of disturbed brain activity and cause changes in attention and behavior, according to the National Institutes of Health. The condition affects about 3 million Americans and 50 million people worldwide, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

The ketogenic diet mimics aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. The diet produces ketones in the body, organic compounds that form when the body uses fat, instead of glucose, as a source of energy. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures.

The study, published in the journal Neuron and conducted in genetically-altered mice, found that the effect of the ketogenic diet on epilepsy can be mimicked using a much more specific and non-dietary approach by manipulating a particular protein in mice, said Gary Yellen, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the study.

“This points toward potential new ways of treating epilepsy in patients for whom current drugs are not effective,” said Yellen.

Yellen said that while the connection between epilepsy and diet has remained unclear for nearly 100 years, he has seen children’s lives change drastically after changes in their food intake. In the past, some patients have also seen improvement when they cut nearly all sugar from their diets.

Experimenting in mice, the researchers found they could mimic the effects of the diet by altering a specific protein, known as BAD. Seizures decreased in the mice.

While the research must first be replicated in humans, Yellen said, in the long run, scientists should be able to target this pathway pharmacologically.

“Because the ketogenic diet can be so broadly effective against many types of epilepsy that are not well-treated by existing medications, tapping into its mechanism may be valuable for treating many epilepsy patients,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May162012

New Surgery Offers Hope to Kids With Dangerous Giggling Seizures

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- For the first time, in an experimental pilot program at Texas Children's Hospital, doctors are using real time MRI-guided lasers to destroy lesions that cause laughing seizures in epilepsy patients.

"This MRI-guided laser ablation have increased our accuracy and our safety and our worry factor," said neurosurgeon Dr. Daniel Curry, who, along with Wilfong, is behind this potential breakthrough.

For a rare number of children, laughter can signal a potentially devastating, even fatal future, and their parents will do anything to make the laughter stop.

"The giggling when he was young was such an endearing type of a giggle that we thought it was his normal giggling," Robin Dysart of San Antonio, Texas, said about son Keagan. "Until we realized he was giggling at inappropriate times. There wouldn't be anything to laugh about."

Karen Williams of Toronto noticed the same strange behavior in her son, Mateo.

"There's a forcedness to it," she said. "It almost looks like there's something else that's possessing the laughter."

They are called gelastic seizures, and appear as spontaneous, uncontrollable and often maniacal giggles or laughter. They are short and unpredictable. The cause: a rare form of epilepsy called Hypothalamic Hamartoma (HH) in which a non-cancerous lesion wreaks havoc in a highly sensitive area near the brain's stem. Too often the laughter goes undiagnosed.

Left untreated, the laughing seizures caused by HH can cause long-term behavioral and cognitive damage. Some children grow up so debilitated that they live with their parents. Some have even been institutionalized.

For years, little could be done to stop the laughing seizures, short of an invasive craniotomy. Fraught with danger, the brain is separated, carved open and the lesion, deep in the brain's center, cut out. The risks are every parent's nightmare: a possible loss of sight, uncontrollable urination, stroke and even death if the kidneys shut down.

"And that's what led us to want to explore new technologies to be able to get to these deep centers in the brain, without having to do traditional surgery," said Dr. Angus Wilfong, the medical director at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

Oklahoma Blind Dog Gets New Life with Canine Pal

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) -- Putting two dogs of different breeds and from different backgrounds together in a confined space will usually end up in a lot of bark and likely some bite.  Rarely does that pairing end up in the two pooches becoming an inseparable pair.

That latter, more unlikely scenario was just the case, however, with two young dogs in Oklahoma who not only built a friendship but also cured each other’s ills.

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Blair is a 1-year-old black Labrador mix brought to the Woodland West Animal Hospital in Tulsa, Okla., after she was shot while living on the streets.  After he recovered from his wounds, Blair remained at the clinic, a timid and nervous pup whose difficult history made her hard to place with an adopted family, the hospital’s director, Dr. Mike Jones, told ABC News.

Then there was Tanner, a two-year-old Golden Retriever puppy who was born blind and with a seizure disorder so severe he was sent to Woodland Hospital as a last resort after his first owner died and the Oklahoma City-based Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue organization that had assumed his care, was unable to find a family to give him the around-the-clock care he needed.

“His seizure disorder was really, really bad and nothing -- no medications -- seemed to be helping,” Jones said.  “Anytime he [Tanner] seizes he expresses his bowels.  It’s a nightmare anytime you have a 90-lb dog experiencing this nightly; it made living in a home very, very difficult.”

Tanner and Blair lived with their respective conditions until the two were placed together a few months ago in a chance encounter, first reported by local ABC affiliate KTUL.

“One day they were exercising in a play yard together and they got together," Jones said.  “Blair all of a sudden seemed to realize that Tanner was blind and just started to help him around.”

Recognizing the dogs’ immediate connection, hospital staff began to board Tanner and Blair together, and the results spoke for themselves.

Tanner had been seizing almost nightly, Jones said.  ”After two or three weeks, we realized Tanner wasn’t seizing anymore.  He’s not completely seizure free but it’s not constant anymore.”

“We’ve worked with a lot of different service dogs to provide these services for people,” said Jones. “But it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this, the special relationship these two dogs have.”

The bond is so strong and instinctive that if Tanner has a leash on, Blair will pick it up and guide her friend around, according to Jones.  Likewise, he said, Tanner has had a calming influence on Blair, making the former street dog much less timid and anxious.

The next task is to find the two dogs a home together to continue their joint recovery.

“They absolutely have to be adopted together,” Jones said.  “But it’s going to take a special home with someone who understands their special relationship plus understands seizure disorder and is ready to take on the responsibility.”

The adoption search is being handled by the same Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue organization that brought Tanner to the hospital, a lucky decision that brought on the recovery process no one could have predicted.  The hospital has, to this point, taken care of Blair’s recovery through its own foster care account.

“The big thing about this is just finding the right home for Tanner and Blair, which is a very specific mission,” said Jones.  “This is not a typical adoption.  Tanner is only two-years-old.  We’re looking at probably ten years or so care for Tanner.”

Calls to the Sooner Rescue organization placed Friday by ABC News for comment were not returned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb152012

EpiPen to Stop Epileptic Seizures?

Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- The longer an epileptic seizure lasts, the more likely it is to turn deadly.

Besides administering an oral or anal gel suppository -- which can be difficult to give successfully in the midst of a seizure -- caregivers are at a race against time, with little to do but wait for paramedics to arrive.

But researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Cincinnati say creating an insertible pen to stop seizures -- much like the popular EpiPen used widely for treating acute allergic reactions -- may prove to be a lifesaver.

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In a new study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that injecting emergency anti-seizure medication into the muscle can stop prolonged seizures -- seizures that last for five minutes or longer -- faster than if it were administered through an IV line administered by a paramedic.

Nearly 900 patients with epilepsy who experienced seizures lasting longer than five minutes either were given a shot in the muscle with the anticonvulsant midazolam by paramedics or the standard IV line of the anticonvulsant drug lorazepam.

On average, the seizures were shorter for those patients who were administered a shot of midazolam directly into the muscle, lasting just 1 1/2 minutes after the medication was injected. Patients who received anticonvulsant drugs by IV drip, by contrast, suffered longer seizures, which continued on average for as long as five minutes before the treatment took effect.

Nearly 55,000 people die each year from prolonged seizures, according to Dr. Robert Silbergleit, emergency physician at the University of Michigan Health System, and lead author of the study.

"It's difficult to start an IV in somebody who's having convulsions, who's shaking, and that difficulty can cause a delay in getting the IV started, which can cause a delay in stopping the seizure," said Silbergleit. "And it can also be a safety hazard for the paramedic who's got a sharp object and a shaking patient," he said.

Although paramedics administered the shot to patients in the study, the findings could pave the way for a shot that can be administered by caregivers before paramedics even arrive, according to Dr. Jason McMullan, assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati and co-author of the study.

"The earlier they are treated, the sooner the seizure will stop, the easier it will be to control and the better the outcome," said McMullan.

The study enrolled adults and children as young as 2 years old.

"Most seizures stop on their own without any type of medication," said McMullan, adding that the findings only apply to those who have prolonged seizures, known as status epilepticus.

Midazolam, one drug in a class of medications called benzodiazepines, can be used to stop seizures. Other benzodiazepines, diazapem and lorazepem are anticonvulsants currently used anally and in IV form, respectively.

"I am very excited that this is another tool in the arsenal for present lifesaving treatments for prolonged seizures," said McMullan.

Although midazolam currently is used off-label to stop seizures, syringes with a standard dose of the medication -- such as those used in the study -- are not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

While it might take a while until an auto-injector "epi-pen" of the medication is approved for caregivers, McMullan said paramedics can use the technique now.

"They can draw it up in a syringe and use it as a shot, just like how medications are given," said McMullan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan302012

Colorado Mom Can't Remember Leaving Kids, Walking 12 Miles

Matthew Hatfield(DENVER) -- A Colorado mom who does not remember leaving her two young sons in a van and disappearing for hours is being examined Monday by doctors for clues into what happened.

Police arrested the 26-year-old woman for child abuse and are eager for answers; a handgun has gone missing from the woman's home.

Almost 12 hours after leaving her two sons, ages 2 and 4, in a van parked at a Thornton, Colo. gas station Saturday, Sarah Hatfield said she could not remember leaving her boys, nor could she explain how she arrived outside National Jewish Hospital in Denver around midnight that night.

"She called me and said, 'I don't know how I got here, but I'm here. Please come get me,'" Hatfield's husband Matthew told ABC News. "She was frantic and crying and sobbing and just confused. We just have no idea what happened." 

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Hatfield, who has a history of insomnia and debilitating migraines, was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor child abuse. She is currently undergoing tests at a local hospital for a possible seizure disorder.

"There's no doubt that people can have a seizure and afterwards be confused, be lethargic and have an impairment of memory for what happened shortly before," said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. Devinsky, who has not examined Hatfield, said seizures can lead to a fugue state. "Most of the time it's brief. A fugue state lasting for hours would be very uncommon, but it certainly can occur."

Devinsky said insomnia and migraines are more common among people with seizure disorders, but they can signal other problems, too.

"It's possible is may have been a psychotic episode, unconsciously motivated, where there's a reaction to some stressor," said Devinsky. "It could also be a conscious thing -- life just got to be too much. And after realizing they shouldn't have done something, the person has to come up with a story."

At around 2:30 Saturday afternoon, Thornton police responded to a call from the gas station alerting them to an abandoned gold van in the parking lot. Inside police found the two boys, as well as Hatfield's wallet, cell phone and keys.

"We did an extensive search of the area and filed a missing persons report," said Thornton police spokesman Matt Barnes. Hatfield seemed disoriented when she was found 10 hours later after asking a security guard at National Jewish Hospital to use a phone to call home, according to police.

When police arrived at the hospital, "She advised she could not remember what had happened from the time she pulled into the gas station to the time she arrived at National Jewish," said Barnes. "She didn't suspect foul play or abduction, nor was she injured."

But she was sore, possibly from walking 12 miles down Interstate 25.

A handgun normally locked away in the Hatfield home is also missing, Matthew Hatfield said.

"I don't know when it went missing," he said of the gun, which was last seen around New Years. "It's possible that if we are dealing with a seizure disorder, it could have gone missing at any point."

Thornton Police are requesting a search warrant for the van hoping to recover the missing weapon.

Matthew Hatfield said his wife's behavior is out of character, adding she's never been in trouble before and doesn't do drugs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec202011

Surgical Device Stops Baby's Laughing Seizures

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- Pediatric nurse Rhonda Bastolla thought something was wrong with son Nico the day he was born, Dec. 12, 2003.

Little did she know at the time that Nico would undergo a breakthrough surgery when he was 8 months old that would change the course of his life and get a whole company named after him.

When Bastolla and husband Mike brought Nico home from Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital that December, the infant nursed almost around the clock, as though he were starving. "He was never quiet and nothing would soothe him," his mother says.

Doctors suggested colic or other intestinal conditions, but Bastolla couldn't shake the feeling that there was more to it. Soon Nico began showing other unusual behavior. He laughed almost all day, so much so that his father dubbed him Captain Giggles.

When he was 2 months old, Rhonda Bastolla brought the baby to the hospital for a checkup. She got on the elevator with a group of doctors and other medical personnel. As usual, Nico was laughing, which is a behavior not typically seen in children until they are about 4 months old.

Several weeks of tests went by with no real answer except a vague diagnosis of failure to thrive. Nico was still ravenous and continued to laugh up to 18 hours a day. More worried than ever, Bastolla called the hospital and told them, "I'm bringing him in. Not only am I a mother but I'm a nurse. There is something wrong with this kid."

When she arrived at Children's she was adamant, telling a surprised staff, "I'm not leaving. I don't care if you call the police."

Nico was admitted for two more days of tests. That second night, "maybe 30 people walked into the room," Bastolla says.

Someone asked Bastolla to sit down as they began to explain the situation. There was nothing funny about Nico's laughing. He was having a huge amount of fits known as gelastic seizures, characterized by laughing, and they were caused by a brain tumor.

The mass was near Nico's hypothalamus, a critical structure deep in the brain that regulates everything from body temperature to emotional states. It was benign and non-growing, but the rare tumor would prevent Nico from developing normally.

Termed a hypothalamic hamartoma, the kind of growth Nico had is exceedingly rare. Very little data exist on how common they are but, anecdotally, researchers suggest the chances of having one are about a million to one.

Children with the condition sometimes go into rages and become violent as they get older. Nico was seizing up to 18 hours a day and his brain was being battered.

No matter how much Nico ate, the seizures were burning so many calories that he couldn't get enough food to grow normally. Nico's doctors explained to the Bastollas that the tumor could be removed, but that he would have to wait until he was anywhere from 2 to 4 years old. His brain was just too small for surgeons to operate in the delicate area just above the brain stem.

Such a timeline wasn't going to work for the couple. Mike Bastolla hit the Internet and found a support group that led him to the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, which had treated cases such as Nico's in older children. Working with Nico's Pittsburgh doctor, the Bastollas got their son's case history presented to Barrow.

Several weeks later, Rhonda Bastolla received a call from the institute about an experimental surgical device. It had never been used on a patient, but Dr. Harold Rekate was ready to try it on her son.

Invented by Joe Mark and his team at what is now called the Nico Corp., in honor of its first patient, the instrument was designed to allow surgeons to operate on difficult-to-reach areas of the brain. A slender tube sucks up small portions of a tumor that are chopped off by a blade.

The Nico Myriad, as it is now called, slices hundreds of times a minute in a motion similar to gobbling, sort of like Pac-Man. A mechanical foot pedal gives the doctor precision control. It may sound retro, but its simplicity is inspired.

The beauty of the new surgical tool was its small scale as well as its precision. It would require only a tiny incision and was flexible enough to get to difficult areas in a baby's brain with less risk of damaging surrounding structures.

It generates no heat, which further reduces risk. Another major benefit is that it allows the surgeon to work quickly, which is especially important in a small child. Generally, the shorter the operation, the shorter the recovery time.

In August 2004, the family flew out to Arizona where 8-month-old Nico was prepped for surgery. During the operation Mike Bastolla recalls, "The clock on the wall didn't seem like it was moving at all."

For the next six years, a critical time in a child's development, Nico was totally free from seizures. Last summer, he began having occasional episodes, which are regulated by medication. No one is sure of their origin, but the tumor has not grown back.

Nico Corp. has now performed more than 1,500 surgeries with the Myriad, according to company executives. About 400 of the cases were pediatric.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar272011

Study: Doctors Closer to Predicting Seizures

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A study has revealed that doctors may be getting closer to being able to predict seizures in humans.

The Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study where aspirin-sized sensors were implanted into the brains of patients to record the activities of different areas of the brain during seizures, according to an article by Nature Neuroscience.

The study found that some abnormal activity was detected up to about three minutes before the beginning of a seizure. Findings of the study also show that in some cases it was possible predict the activity in certain parts of the brain before the seizures even began.

Though a lot still remains unknown about how seizures begin, spread and end, experts believe that the findings of this study provides some information that may eventually lead to being able to predict seizures.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb242011

Doctors Remove Part of Cheerleader's Brain to Stop Seizures

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(DENVER) -- It was a stunt that Whitney Henry would never forget. During the summer before her junior year of high school, Henry and her cheerleading teammates were practicing a routine that involved tossing one girl, the flyer, into the air. The stunt quickly went awry when the flyer strayed in mid-flight, slamming her head into Henry's face, knocking out Henry's two front teeth.

While the dental debacle was damaging to her smile, Henry would only learn later how much of an impact this accident would have on her life, and that it would eventually lead surgeons to remove a chunk of her brain.

Henry suffered her first episode six months after the accident. She recalled that she could not speak for about two minutes and experienced intense déjà vu.

"I didn't know if I was just different or if I was having a seizure or what," said the now 20-year-old Henry.

It turned out that it was a seizure and after the first episode, the seizures became more intense and frequent. She experienced 30 to 50 per day. And as a junior in high school, Henry would often have seizures while in school.

The frustrations continued when Henry sought medical help for her mysterious condition. She went through six neurologists and 13 anticonvulsant medications without any improvement.

"It was maddening," said Henry. "I had no quality of life at all."

Between debilitating seizures, and the memory loss and paranoia that came along with the regular episodes, Henry's grades plummeted her junior year.

But after one and a half years of attacks, Dr. Michael Handler, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Children's Hospital in Denver, Colo., finally pinpointed the cheerleading accident as the cause of her condition and suggested surgery to treat it.

"This is not a step we take lightly," Handler told ABC News affiliate, ABC7 in Denver. "It's a step that's hard for some doctors to accept and some patients to accept."

The accident caused a traumatic brain injury that instead of a concussion, caused a contusion -- a big bruise on the brain -- that caused permanent damage. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy and seizures affect almost 3 million Americans, and about 300,000 of those affected have difficulty controlling seizures despite medical management.

"Medications are the first line of treatment," said Dr. Brian Greenwald, medical director of Brain Injury Rehabilitation at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "With one or two medications, most people [about 80 percent] can get control of their seizures."

"This injury occurs when [the temporal lobe] slides up against the bony projections that form the base of the skull cavity," said Dr. Gregory O'Shanick, medical director emeritus of the Brain Injury Association of America. "This follows either a direct blow to the head or an acceleration-deceleration of the head that then causes the brain to shift in the skull."

After surgery became an option on the table for Henry's condition, she did not hesitate for even a moment. "My reaction was, 'Can we do it tomorrow?'" said Henry. "I was relieved and anxious to get through surgery and have a new life."

Doctors conducted four week-long studies on Henry before she went into surgery, where doctors removed a golf ball size portion of Henry's temporal lobe.

Dr. Atif Haque, a neurosurgeon at the Fort Worth Brain and Spine Institute, said that most people get brain surgery because of the interference that strokes have on their lives.

Henry has now been seizure free for two years and four months. She is a senior at University of Northern Colorado, and plans on getting her master's degree and Ph.D. in psychology.

"I guess that part of my brain was holding me back," said Henry. "I'm excited to have a fresh start." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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