Epilepsy: 80 Seizures a Day to None

CLEVELAND, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - One in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. Some people with this condition have persistent and severe seizures that can’t be controlled with medicine. Surgery is an option, but only if doctors can locate the exact problem area in the brain. Now, a new type of imaging is allowing them to do just that. 

Ravi Stewart, 19, has battled epilepsy for most of his life. In high school, he had up to 80 seizures every single day.

“Having people know about it, I was definitely bullied for most of it. It definitely made it hard to go to school and stay caught up,” Stewart told Ivanhoe.

Ravi took four different meds, but none controlled his seizures. And, he wasn’t a candidate for surgery because doctors couldn’t locate the problem spot in his brain. 

Elaine Wyllie, MD, Neurologist and Epilepsy Specialist, Cleveland Clinic explained, “No matter how hard everyone tried, the seizures continued relentlessly.”

That’s when Ravi enrolled in a research protocol at the Cleveland Clinic. Doctors used a brand-new MRI machine, called 7 Tesla, to look inside his brain. It allows them to get at a deeper level inside the cells. With the device, they located the faulty area that was causing Ravi’s seizures, the one other doctors couldn’t find.

Dr. Wyllie continued, “The abnormality became clear.”

Ravi then had surgery to remove the lesion. Surgeons precisely targeted the area in his brain without harming nearby regions that control language. 

A year later, Ravi is completely seizure-free!

“It’s a whole new life. It’s a whole new person. I didn’t know this person existed behind the Ravi that we knew,” Sangeeta Lakhani, Ravi’s Mother stated.

Ravi said, “Things are definitely better. I definitely feel happier.”

And now he has the life he always wanted. One without seizures.

There are only a handful of 7 Tesla MRI machines in the world. Cleveland Clinic researchers are currently investigating how the scanner works for epilepsy. Preliminary results show 7 Tesla images enhance previous findings in nearly half of epilepsy patients imaged.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Field Producer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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