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Medical News & Perspectives
June 13, 2001

Surgery for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Is Regaining Favor

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JAMA. 2001;285(22):2843-2844. doi:10.1001/jama.285.22.2843-JMN0613-2-1

Philadelphia—Consider two medical treatments. One helps 60% or more of the patients who receive it, while the other succeeds less than 10% of the time. Physicians and patients might be expected to flock to the first.

With temporal lobe epilepsy and surgery, there's a different story. In the most rigorous study to date, brain surgery virtually eliminated seizures in 58% of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, while medication helped only 8%. Conducted at the University of Western Ontario in London, the randomized study—hailed as a first of its kind at the May meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN)—focused on patients who had not improved after trying at least two different antiseizure drugs. Epilepsy specialists (who call themselves epileptologists) said the experiment confirms what earlier, less thorough studies also show: surgery offers the best hope for many with tough-to-treat seizures.

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