Tuesday, October 23, 2007

University of Calgary found new treatment for seizures

Calgarian Philippa Baker feared the violent epileptic seizures that turned her home life into a living hell would kill her.

But groundbreaking treatment by University of Calgary researchers has given her a new lease on life and her family hope, said the 43-year-old.

“I felt like a drowning woman being thrown a life preserver,” she said.

“The success of my treatment has allowed me and my family to reclaim our lives.”

What turned the tables on Baker’s severe epilepsy was a comprehensive, research-based approach that monitored her seizures round the clock for two weeks.

That work isolated a lesion on her brain, with enough knowledge they were confident removing it wouldn’t rob her of her speech.

It’s also given scientists a vital window into how seizures affect the brain and how to analyze and manage the condition, said Dr. Cam Teskey, a U of C physiology and biophysics specialist.
“We have the ability to see how neurons talk to each other and we can talk to neurons,” he said.
“We can control exactly when and exactly where seizures occur.”

What makes efforts at Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute a world leader are the large team of highly-trained scientists and some of the best imaging technologies on the continent, say the researchers, said neurologist Dr. Paolo Federico.

“This presents a novel opportunity for preventing seizures in future patients,” he said.


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