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Some Epilepsy Patients Are Good Candidates for Surgery

Study found those with multiple auras had seizures arising from one part of brain

FRIDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- People with epilepsy who experience multiple types of auras may be good candidates for surgery because their seizures seem to arise from one area of the brain, a U.S. study suggests.

The research, published in the Aug. 21 issue of Neurology, included 31 epilepsy patients who experienced multiple types of auras before a seizure, such as seeing bright light, feeling a cold breeze, smelling a bad odor, or having abdominal pain.

The study found 90 percent of patients with at least two aura types and 100 percent of patients with at least three aura types had seizures arising from the non-dominant side of their brain.

"Epilepsy surgery may be effective for people with multiple auras since most of the seizures seem to arise from one area of the brain rather than multiple regions," study author Dr. Prakash Kotagal, of the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center, said in a prepared statement.

There has been little focus on the significance of multiple auras.

"Multiple auras may be underestimated, since auras are often difficult and time-consuming to elicit from a patient, particularly if their importance is not appreciated by the patient's doctor," study co-author Dr. Peter Widdess-Walsh, of the Saint Barnabas Institute of Neurology in West Orange, N.J., said in a prepared statement.

"However, our findings show multiple auras should be recognized by doctors as a significant finding and should be used in deciding whether to proceed with epilepsy surgery," he said.

Of the 19 patients in this study who later had epilepsy surgery, more than half stopped having seizures.

More information

The Epilepsy Foundation has more about epilepsy.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, Aug. 20, 2007

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