Epileptologists are constantly searching for non-invasive or minimally invasive ways to uncover and describe the brain down to its most fundamental cellular and molecular detail and function. Their goal is to achieve the ability to locate and treat the specific cells, neurons or network that start the train of events that produce seizures. Another is to restore cognitive function after possible injury from continuous seizures.
In presentations before epilepsy specialists from around the world, scientists described how the convergence of technology and medicine is opening an unprecedented window to brain function at the most fundamental levels and blazing a trail toward achieving near pin-point accuracy in defining the cause of epilepsy and in delivering therapeutic agents to specific seizure causing regions in the brain.
The researchers presented reports on:
- work potentially leading to memory circuits being restored to function after injury from temporal lobe seizures;
- research showing that light can alter a drug effect and abort seizures by targeting specific brain cells non-invasively;
- studies that will aid the delivery of therapeutic cells, molecules, and genes precisely to specific target cells or regions in the brain;
- and a revolution in imaging technology that will soon provide real time upgrading of how the brain is shifting during actual surgery.
"Technology has driven the major advances in the success of surgical care of epilepsy. It has also been most prominent in the diagnostic localization of the epilepsy generating brain in relation to functional brain," said Spencer.
Epilepsy affects 50 million people around the globe, including 3 million in the United States. It is the most common neurological disorder in children and the third most common in adults after Alzheimer's disease and stroke.
About The American Epilepsy Society (AES)
The American Epilepsy Society (AES), based in West Hartford, CT, is among the oldest neurological professional organizations in the nation, with roots dating to 1898. The AES annual meeting is the world's preeminent professional meeting on epilepsy and attracts some 4,000 participants from around the globe. The Society promotes research and education for professionals dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of epilepsy. Membership includes epilepsy clinicians, basic science and clinical investigators, and other health-care professionals interested in seizure disorders.
Source: Peter VanHaverbeke
American Epilepsy Society