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Intractable Seizures Can Be Handled By A Three-Stage Brain Operation, Neurosurgeon

A neurosurgeon has reported his promising results about a three-stage brain surgery, performed on 25 children with tuberous sclerosis//, a genetic disorder characterised by intractable seizures.

Sadly, none of the treatments for epilepsy—anti-seizure medications, a procedure called vagus nerve stimulation, a special diet —could quell the electrical storms in the young boy’s brain. Caused by a rare genetic disease called tuberous sclerosis, the seizures began when he was only 2 months old. By the time he was 5, he was having more than 10 a day. The seizures left him with the developmental capabilities of a 1-year-old child.

Today the boy rarely experiences seizures and his development has improved dramatically thanks to a bold three-stage brain operation being performed at NYU Medical Center by pediatric neurosurgeon Howard Weiner, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine.

This child’s case study is part of a report in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics that describes 25 children with tuberous sclerosis who have been operated on by Dr. Weiner over the last six years. It is the largest report of epilepsy surgery in young children with the disease by a single surgeon in the medical literature.

The youngest child was 7 months old, and the oldest 17. They initially were evaluated extensively by a team of physicians that included Dr. Weiner and Orrin Devinsky, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry and Director of NYU’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. The evaluation included an overnight stay in a special inpatient pediatric epilepsy unit at NYU’s Tisch Hospital, equipped with 24-hour electroencephalography (EEG) and video monitoring to correlate the children’s behavior with unusual brain activity.

After the evaluation revealed that seizures were affecting many areas of their brains, the team determined that the multi-stage operatio
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