Assessing who will benefit from epilepsy surgery using imaging

Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most common form of epilepsy among adults and surgery to remove a portion of the temporal lobe is an effective way of treating this type of epilepsy. However, one of the main risks is leaving patients with poor short-term memory as the temporal lobe contains a special part of brain called the hippocampus, which is important for forming new memories.

The current method that doctors use to determine whether surgery will make memory worse, is the Wada test. Here doctors switch off one half of the brain with a local anaesthetic while the patient does memory and word tests to evaluate the function of the other half.

Dr Kemp’s study is using two different types of modern brain scan which offer an alternative to the Wada test, Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), to evaluate memory function and develop a brain scanning memory test protocol as a non-invasive alternative to the Wada test. If successful, this could replace the Wada test, and improve the process of evaluating patients for surgery.

Read more about this study into non-invasive pre-surgical imaging here.

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