Life without fits: New treatment for refractory epilepsies

Life without fits: New treatment for refractory epilepsies

Through a joint project between the University Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the MedUni Vienna, a new treatment option has recently been launched that promises people with difficult-to-treat forms of epilepsy a significantly improved quality of life. Just how important this is has been demonstrated by a further recent study by the MedUni Vienna.

Around 70,000 people in Austria suffer from , and there are an estimated 50 million sufferers worldwide. The problem, however, is that, despite the best possible medical treatment, a third of all people with epilepsy suffer fits, often with considerable psycho-social consequences as a result. There is now a new and highly promising available for these people that aims to alleviate their symptoms.

Patients with difficult to treat epilepsy will be offered a palliative option involving (DBS) as part of an between the University Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the MedUni Vienna. Ekatarina Pataraia from the University Department of Neurology at the MedUni Vienna explains how it works: "Electrodes are implanted in a part of the brain known as the . The permanent stimulation of these structures can interrupt the propagation of epileptiform activity and accordingly significantly reduce the frequency and severity of fits." The method is also already being used in the MedUni Vienna's university departments to treat other conditions (such as Parkinson's disease) very successfully.

People with epilepsy have less promising job prospects

Just how important it is to treat epilepsy is being demonstrated this year by a study being carried out at the MedUni Vienna's University Department of Neurology. Study principal Ekaterina Pataraia explains: "Only very few people with epilepsy go on to complete after compulsory education. As a result, these people have significantly poorer prospects on the jobs market." University or college courses are only very rarely completed too. Added to this is the continued problem of the stigma attached to epilepsy and the psycho-social stress that this can cause. For the healthcare system, this also means a considerable financial burden resulting directly from costs associated with managing the condition – such as drug costs and treatment by doctors, hospital stays and emergency admissions – on the one hand, and indirectly through other costs (such as inability to work, pension payments, care costs, etc.).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Functional MRI provides support in operations on the brain

Jun 14, 2013

Researchers at the MedUni Vienna have proved in a so far unique multicenter study that clinical functional magnetic resonance tomography (fMRI), in the area in which the MedUni Vienna has a leading role internationally, ...

'Risk calculator' developed for venous thromboses

Aug 14, 2013

In Austria, around 15,000 people a year develop a venous thrombosis, the occlusion of a vein that can result in a pulmonary embolism. A clot breaks free from a vein and travels via the bloodstream to the ...

Recommended for you

Know the brain, and its axons, by the clothes they wear

10 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—It is widely know that the grey matter of the brain is grey because it is dense with cell bodies and capillaries. The white matter is almost entirely composed of lipid-based myelin, but ...

Turning off depression in the brain

Apr 17, 2014

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Rapid whole-brain imaging with single cell resolution

Apr 17, 2014

A major challenge of systems biology is understanding how phenomena at the cellular scale correlate with activity at the organism level. A concerted effort has been made especially in the brain, as scientists are aiming to ...

User comments