Friday, November 27, 2009
Medical Reports: Brain Bucket for Epilepsy
People with epilepsy know they are at risk of having a seizure at any time, surgery can help but it's difficult for doctors to see exactly where they should operate. Now a high tech helmet is changing that. Seven's Christine Cruz shows us in today's Healthcast.
WSVN -- Victoria McCauliffe: "I feel like I am not living a normal teenager."
For Victoria McCauliffe, the seizures started when she was four and haven't stopped since.
Victoria McCauliffe: "I have scars from where I've fallen down and crawled on the ground, and I've been in school where I've been all bloody."
She says medication doesn't always work and it can make her groggy. Surgery is an option if doctors know where to operate.
Dr. Bruce Rosen: "Many patients with epilepsy could be helped if we could find the part of the brain that's actually the source of the epilepsy, but in many patients those parts of the brain are so small we just can't see them with our normal MRI."
Dr. Bruce Rosen is one of the first to use the brain bucket. A new scanner that sees inside the brain like never before.
Dr. Bruce Rosen: "It's kind of like the difference between the picture you would take on your cell phone and the picture you would take with a good 10 megapixel camera."
The helmet is filled with 96 metal coils and sensors that pick up signals from different areas of the brain and translates them into an image. A traditional MRI uses between two and 12 coils.
Dr. Bruce Rosen: "With the brain bucket technology, we kind of put the whole process on steroids. On this picture, actually, it was read by the radiologist as completely normal."
But take a look at the brain bucket's clearer picture. It shows a small lesion that's causing seizures.
In a study, the device caught 50 percent more defects than traditional scans. Victoria hopes the helmet can help her so she can have surgery to stop the seizures.
Christine Cruz: "Doctors believe the device could also be a powerful weapon in the fight against alzheimer's and brain tumors."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Bruce Rosen, MD, PhD