Brain Research Trust

Improving treatments for patients with severe epilepsy

A new brain imaging technique may help to improve the likelihood of successful surgery in patients suffering from severe epilepsy. A study to implement and evaluate this technique will be taking place at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, but funding is required to buy the necessary equipment.

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Epilepsy is the most serious common neurological condition. It affects around one person in 131. Although medication is available to treat the condition, some individuals find that their symptoms cannot be adequately controlled through drug treatments and therefore require surgery to eliminate their seizures. Tests have to be carried out prior to surgery to help pinpoint the part of the brain from which seizures originate. In some cases, the location cannot be found through traditional imaging techniques and may require electrodes to be inserted within the brain, which is invasive, expensive and carries a health risk. However, a new non-invasive scanning technique called EEG-fMRI has been shown in laboratory studies to provide a new means of finding the origin of the seizures. In a new study, the technique will be implemented on patients in a hospital setting and evaluated to find out how effective it is at localising seizures, reducing the need for invasive tests and helping to increase the likelihood of successful surgery. In order to carry out this important study, the team will require an MRI-compatible EEG recording system, costing £40,550.