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Functional MRI enables noninvasive evaluation of epilepsy patients

OAK BROOK, Ill.--Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain reduces the need for invasive testing of seizure disorder patients being considered for surgical treatment, according to a study published in the July issue of the journal Radiology.

"fMRI gives the surgical team an important roadmap of the brain function without contrast injections or invasive tests," said the study's lead author, L. Santiago Medina, M.D., M.P.H., co-director of neuroradiology and director of the Health Outcomes, Policy and Economics Center at Miami Children's Hospital. "This imaging technology is a powerful tool that improves surgical decision making in patients being considered for seizure surgery."

Dr. Medina's study evaluated the effect of fMRI results on the diagnostic work-up and treatment planning of 60 consecutive seizure disorder patients, including 33 male and 27 female patients. The fMRI findings helped five patients avoid additional surgery and altered the extent of surgery in four others.

A seizure is an outward sign of a malfunction in the electrical activity of the brain. Seizures that occur more than once without special cause are called seizure disorder or epilepsy. According to the Epilepsy Foundation of America, 2.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Brain surgery has proven to be an effective treatment for patients with seizure disorders who do not respond to medication. The surgical treatment involves resecting, or cutting away, brain tissue that contains a seizure focus--the location in the brain where the seizures originate. Before resection surgery is performed, the treatment team uses diagnostic tests to help determine the proximity of a seizure focus to vital areas of brain function and to provide a map of the area.

Until recently, the Wada test and electrical cortical mapping--both invasive, costly tests that require large medical teams--were the only methods for identifying these cri
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Contact: Doug Dusik
ddusik@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
28-Jun-2005


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