Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brain scan could stop epilepsy pre-surgery

WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- U.S. experts said a technology being developed for use in diagnosing brain issues could eliminate costly and invasive pre-surgery for epilepsy patients.

Susumu Sato, a physician and researcher with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke within the National Institutes of Health, said epilepsy patients often must undergo a pre-surgery procedure that involves removing a portion of the patient's skull and temporarily placing electrodes on the surface of the brain to detect areas involved in producing seizures. Doctors then determine whether those parts of the brain can be removed.

However, he and other experts told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that a scanning technology known as magnetoencephalography, or MEG, could eliminate those procedures by detecting the problem areas of the brain without surgeons cutting into the patient. Sato said MEG costs thousands less than the currently used preliminary surgeries, but is not currently covered by most insurance companies.

"It is very exciting technology," Sato said.

Experts said the technology, which is currently being used in several studies, could also be used to benefit patients with Alzheimer's, Tourette syndrome and other neurological issues.

source : www.upi.com/Science_News

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