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Tests


The epileptologists at UHealth’s Department of Neurology International Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (ICEC) are trained specifically in the detection and treatment of epilepsy. By using the latest diagnostic technology, they will be able to tell the difference between an epileptic seizure and one that is caused by another condition.

  • Doctor Evaluation

    During an exam a neurologist may ask you about any headaches or other pain occurring in or near the brain and cognitive problems, such as an ability to concentrate or recall certain facts.

    They will likely ask you questions specifically about your seizures, including:

    • Is there something that could have provoked the seizure or event, like sleep deprivation, alcohol or drug abuse, or anything else?
    • Where were you and what was going on when the seizure started?
    • Did it happen right after you stood up?
    • Was there a warning, like an unusual feeling before the seizure started?
    • Exactly what happened during the seizure?
    • How long did it last?
    • Were you tired or confused after the seizure?
    • Have you had more than one seizure? If so, were they all alike?
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)

    A procedure that records the brain's continuous, electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp. This may tell the doctor if you have had a seizure recently and what kind of seizure it was.

  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)

    During this procedure a special needle is placed into the area around the spinal cord in your lower back. The pressure in the spinal canal and brain can then be measured. A small amount of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) can be removed and sent for testing to determine if there is an infection or other problems. CSF is the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.

Treatments


Our physician experts use lasers to surgically target the part of the brain where seizures originate, in order to control the activity. These procedures are less invasive and the recovery from the surgery is faster.

  • Medication

    A doctor may prescribe medication based on the type of epileptic seizure and syndrome, on the age and gender of the patient, on the existence of other medical, cognitive and psychiatric disorders and on whether other medication is used for the treatment of these conditions.  Approximately 60 to 70 percent of patients will become seizure-free with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).

  • Surgery

    Unfortunately, 30 to 40 percent of patients will continue to have seizures despite the use of AEDs. In such cases, your physician will discuss what surgical options may be best for you.  If you are considered to be a good candidate for surgery, there is a 50 to 70 percent chance of being cured.

  • Implantable Computer Chip

    Another promising advancement is a computer chip that is programmed to detect abnormal brain activity that precedes a seizure and responds with brief electrical stimulation that disrupts the activity and normalizes brainwaves often before seizure symptoms begin.

  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation

    VNS attempts to control seizures by sending small pulses of energy to the brain from the vagus nerve, which is a large nerve in the neck. This is done by surgically placing a small battery into the chest wall. Small wires are then attached to the battery and placed under the skin and around the vagus nerve. The battery is then programmed to send energy impulses every few minutes to the brain. When the person feels a seizure coming on, he/she may activate the impulses by holding a small magnet over the battery. In many cases, this will help to stop the seizure.

  • Deep Brain Stimulation

    Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) sends electronic signals to the brain, which may lessen the severity and frequency of seizures. It involves placing a pacemaker-like device under the skin in your chest (not in the brain). Very thin wires connect the device to your brain to enable the signals to reach the source of your symptoms.