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MRI offers new hope for severe epilepsy sufferers

As Epilepsy Awareness Month approaches, researchers have found a way to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect minute brain lesions in people with severe epilepsy, making surgical treatment potentially available to many more patients.

Epilepsy affects about 1% of the general population. In many patients with epilepsy, seizures cannot be controlled with medication but surgery can help if a lesion is identified in the brain.

The study, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and led by Dr. Andrea Bernasconi at McGill University, used new automated techniques for improving the detection of brain lesions that had been overlooked by conventional radiological inspection.

"The advanced methods we propose could reduce the complexity and cost of pre-surgical evaluation, and improve our understanding of the cause of epilepsy," said Dr. Bernasconi, whose findings were published in the January issue of Epilepsia http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1528-1167.2006.00379.x

"Health research holds the key to improved health and quality of life for Canadians and people throughout the world and Dr. Bernasconi's research, which will positively affect people suffering from various brain disorders, is a testament to this," said Dr. Remi Quirion, Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) who is also available to comment on the study and its further implications.


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Contact: CIHR media relations
mediarelations@cihr-irsc.gc.ca
613-941-4563
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
20-Feb-2006


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