Excerpt of an article by Dr. Francis Collins | National Institutes of Health
For many of the 65 million people around the world with epilepsy, modern medications are able to keep the seizures under control. When medications fail, as they do in about one-third of people with epilepsy, surgery to remove affected brain tissue without compromising function is a drastic step, but offers a potential cure. Unfortunately, not all drug-resistant patients are good candidates for such surgery for a simple reason: their brains appear normal on traditional MRI scans, making it impossible to locate precisely the source(s) of the seizures.
Now, in a small study published in Science Translational Medicine, NIH-funded researchers report progress towards helping such people. Using a new MRI method, called GluCEST, that detects concentrations of the nerve-signaling chemical glutamate in brain tissue, researchers successfully pinpointed seizure-causing areas of the brain in four of four volunteers with drug-resistant epilepsy and normal traditional MRI scans. While the findings are preliminary and must be confirmed by larger studies, researchers are hopeful that GluCEST, which takes about 30 minutes, may open the door to new ways of treating this type of epilepsy.
To read the complete article written by Dr. Francis Collins, click here.
Thanks to Dr. Francis Collins for writing the article; National Institutes of Health for committing its resources to publishing the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text in this post.