'Most epilepsy patients can lead normal lives'

Experts say follow-up of child or adult patients with epilepsy can give 70% of them a normal life.

epilepsy treatment [illustrative]_370 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
epilepsy treatment [illustrative]_370
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Proper treatment and follow-up of child or adult patients with epilepsy can give 70 percent of them a normal life, according to experts on the disease.
Israel Epilepsy Awareness Week is currently being held to increase understanding in the general public and among families of those affected.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated and unpredictable seizures or convulsions – episodes of disturbed brain activity – which cause changes in attention or behavior. It occurs when permanent changes in brain tissue cause the brain to be too excitable or jumpy, making it send out abnormal electrical signals. Epilepsy may be due to a medical condition or injury that affects the brain, or the cause may be unknown. It affects 0.7 percent of the population, both children and adults.
But seven in 10 patients will be free of attacks thanks to medications. Of the rest, many can improve with surgery.
The Hadassah Medical Organization recently opened an multidisciplinary center for the treatment of epilepsy in all age groups. The medical team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, radiologists, nuclear medicine specialists and nutritionists.
Dr. Dana Eckstein of the neurology department at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem says that many patients who suffer from uncontrollable seizures or severe side effects from medications are unaware of the fact that they can still be helped.
Eckstein, who coordinates the multidisciplinary center, said that even the most difficult cases can be alleviated.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists have joined the effort by conducting research that is expected to lead to a breakthrough in brain research and epilepsy treatment.
Among the techniques being developed elsewhere in Israel is neurofeedback, or biofeedback specially used to control seizures.