Northwestern Medicine Brings Hope to Patients with Severe Epilepsy - Applied Clinical Trials

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Northwestern Medicine Brings Hope to Patients with Severe Epilepsy For people who don't respond to medications, SEEG pinpoints and eliminates exact source of seizures in brains


Northwestern Medicine Brings Hope to Patients with Severe Epilepsy

For people who don't respond to medications, SEEG pinpoints and eliminates exact source of seizures in brains

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, June 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the more than 2 million Americans living with epilepsy, managing seizures is the key to living a normal life. And for many, medications do just that - allowing them to drive, have jobs and raise families. But for almost one-third of epileptics, medicine is not enough.

Specialists at Northwestern Medicine's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center recently started using a new surgical procedure that could change the lives of these epileptics who are unable to control their seizers with medication. Stereoelectroencephalography, or SEEG, is a groundbreaking procedure that is used to surgically identify areas of the brain where epileptic seizures originate. During SEEG, doctors place electrodes on these areas, which are then monitored to precisely locate the seizure source. When the seizure onset is localized, these lesions are destroyed with lasers. In some cases the lasers go through the same holes created by the SEEG. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of just a few centers in the country to offer SEEG as a treatment option for epilepsy. 

"This procedure is the safest and least invasive surgical option to treat epilepsy today," said Stephan Schuele, MD, MPH, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and assistant professor in neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "For people who don't respond to medication, this is a very effective surgery with a lower risk of complications compared to traditional epilepsy surgeries."

Because SEEG is more accurate and less invasive, patients experience better results and a shorter recovery time, Schuele added. 

Epilepsy is a disease of the brain that causes recurrent, unprovoked seizures. The seizures are caused by brief disturbances in the electrical functions of the brain. These disruptions in electrical activity may cause abnormal sensations such as numbness, strange taste or smell, a loss of consciousness, or uncontrolled bodily movements. Often, the person is only partially aware of the seizure. More than 150,000 new patients – both children and adults – are diagnosed with epilepsy every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SEEG is the perfect match of the latest medical advancements and leading edge technology, said Joshua Rosenow, MD, director of functional neurosurgery at Northwestern Memorial and associate professor of neurological surgery, neurology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Feinberg School.

"SEEG allows us to locate exactly where the seizures start in the brain and on a microscopic level destroy some of these lesions," Rosenow said. "The results are extremely promising. Once they recover from surgery, most of these patients live seizure-free lives."

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Northwestern Memorial, in collaboration with the Feinberg School, is designated a Level 4 referral center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. This designation certifies that the Comprehensive Epilepsy Monitoring Center provides the highest level of medical and surgical diagnostic and treatment options for epilepsy patients.

To learn more about epilepsy care at Northwestern Memorial, visit the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center website.

About Northwestern Medicine ®
Northwestern Medicine® is the collaboration between Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine around a strategic vision to transform the future of healthcare.  It encompasses the research, teaching and patient care activities of the academic medical center. Sharing a commitment to superior quality, academic excellence and patient safety, the organizations within Northwestern Medicine comprise more than 9,000 clinical and administrative staff, 3,100 medical and science faculty and 700 students. The entities involved in Northwestern Medicine remain separate organizations. Northwestern Medicine is a trademark of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and is used by Northwestern University.

About Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern Memorial is one of the country's premier academic medical center hospitals and is the primary teaching hospital of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Along with its Prentice Women's Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry, the hospital has 1,705 affiliated physicians and 6,769 employees.  Northwestern Memorial is recognized for providing exemplary patient care and state-of-the art advancements in the areas of cardiovascular care; women's health; oncology; neurology and neurosurgery; solid organ and soft tissue transplants and orthopaedics.

Northwestern Memorial has nursing Magnet Status, the nation's highest recognition for patient care and nursing excellence. Northwestern Memorial ranks 6th in the nation in the U.S. News & World Report 2013-14 Honor Roll of America's Best Hospitals. The hospital is recognized in 14 of 16 clinical specialties rated by U.S. News and is No. 1 in Illinois and Chicago in U.S. News' 2013-14 state and metro rankings, respectively. For 14 years running, Northwestern Memorial has been rated among the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" guide by Working Mother magazine. The hospital is a recipient of the prestigious National Quality Health Care Award and has been chosen by Chicagoans as the Consumer Choice according to the National Research Corporation's annual survey for 15 consecutive years. 

SOURCE Northwestern Medicine

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