Advances in genetic and imaging research improve the chance of cure from epilepsy




Advances in brain imaging and genetics research are revolutionizing understanding and care of epilepsy, which is one of the most common and serious neurological disorders. Epilepsy is a condition characterized by recurring unpredictable seizures. Epileptic seizures range from being almost undetectable to short and prolonged periods of vigorous shaking. Epileptic “fits” or “seizures” are caused by sudden, excessive electrical discharge from brain cells. It is like an “electrical short” or “electrical storm” in brain cells.

Studies have indicated that there are more than 65 million epilepsy patients worldwide, with nearly 12 million cases in India. However, the alarming fact is that despite the high prevalence of epilepsy in India, the diagnosis and treatment of the condition is largely limited to the larger cities. Each year, approximately 60 new cases are added for every 100,000 inhabitants in the world, and about 80% of the cases occur in developing countries.

In recent decades, there have been important advances in understanding the neurobiological nature of epilepsy, its causes, and related comorbidities. Two technological advances that have been particularly crucial in modern understanding and improving a possible cure for epilepsies are in the fields of genetics and brain imaging. Advances in genetic research include the identification of genes that cause epilepsy and those that influence the effectiveness of antiepileptic drugs. Brain imaging can now be used to identify even tiny lesions (abnormalities in the structure of the brain that cause epilepsy) or dynamic functional brain images that allow the identification of areas of abnormal brain function. These have greatly helped improve therapy. Increasing progressive curability is the availability of neurosurgical procedures, including functional neurosurgery, in which not only injuries are removed, but also disruptions to brain pathways to prevent the spread of brainstorming.

Advances in neuroimaging, particularly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have been helpful in a deeper understanding of epilepsy. Previously, technologies such as CT scans they were used to detect very large lesions that can cause epilepsy; And now, with the advent of MRI, even extremely subtle abnormalities in the brain can be detected. This has allowed physicians to surgically diagnose and treat epilepsy in patients who would previously have been considered patients with unknown causes.

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We now know that genetic epilepsy can occur without a family history, which has improved understanding of severe epilepsies in children. Today, epilepsies are classified as a family of brain network disorders, helping to explain associated comorbidities and providing new insights for specific therapies.

Epilepsy is often feared because of its physical symptoms. Epilepsy can affect a person at any age, but it occurs most often in children or the elderly. Epilepsy is a highly misunderstood and stigmatized condition, and the social stigma and unsupported myths that accompany epilepsy patients are unfounded apprehensions stemming from widespread ignorance of the disease. However, the truth is that epilepsy can be treated and many people with it can lead normal, healthy lives.

Currently available treatment modalities include prescription of antiepileptic drugs, surgery to remove a small part of the brain that is causing the seizures, or implanting an electrical device to help control seizures, and special ketogenic diets. Regular exercise not only improves fitness, but also revitalizes energy and relieves stress, and can help reduce seizures and the impact of epilepsy for some people, making them feel more in control of their health.

Exercise improves fitness, energy, and mood, and relieves stress. Improving overall health and well-being in this way can help reduce seizures and the impact of epilepsy in some people. It can also help people feel more in control of their health.

The author is Consultant Neurologist, Specialist Hospital

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