Exploring new treatment options for seizures

Seizures occur when there is an abnormality in the activity of the brain. They can cause a variety of symptoms, including unusual behaviors, atypical sensations, loss of awareness and twitching. A seizure can affect anyone, no matter the background. A person who has two or more unprovoked seizures might be diagnosed with epilepsy. These patients need specialized care from a neurologist. In the Las Vegas region, the only dedicated neurosciences program is found at Nevada Neurosciences Institute at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

Inhibition of estrogens in the brain
Epilepsy specialists continually research new, more effective and safer ways of managing seizures . One of the emerging treatments is based on research on estrogens in the brain.

It’s thought that when seizures occur, the hippocampus in the brain is stimulated to generate estrogens. Estrogen is a female sex hormone, but both men and women produce it. Researchers have proposed that the use of medications that inhibit estrogen production may help control seizures.

This research is still in its infancy, and there haven’t been any human studies yet.

Gene therapy for seizure control
Some patients with seizures are found to have genetic mutations that cause the disorder. This discovery has given researchers a new direction to focus on: The use of personalized medicine based on genomics.

The idea behind precision medicine for epilepsy patients is that the specific gene mutation can be isolated and replicated in a laboratory setting. Then, the lab scientists can test different medications against the mutation to find out what will work best. This eliminates the need for the patient to try multiple medications, some of which may cause severe side effects or be ineffective.

MRI-guided laser ablation
When medications aren’t a good option for a patient, implantable devices or surgery may offer a solution. One new treatment option involves the use of real-time MRI-guided thermal imaging with the application of specialized laser technology. It allows neurosurgeons to precisely focus the laser on the diseased tissue of the brain.

Nevada Neurosciences Institute provides world-class care for patients with epilepsy. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas attracts top physicians and specialists because of our reputation for putting patients and their families first. Call (702) 233-5300 to request a physician referral.

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