Quigg proposes epilepsy trial
University Medical School neurologist Mark Quigg is working to establish a clinical trial examining the use of Gamma Knife radiosurgery, a method which effectively treats people who suffer from mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.
The Gamma Knife surgery uses radiation beams to nullify the lesion in the brain which causes epileptic seizures, and provides patients with an alternative to a craniotomy, a procedure in which the skull is opened to remove the lesion.
The National Institutes of Health is funding the project by providing a $20 million grant. Two-hundred and seventeen volunteers suffering from mesial temporal lobe epilepsy will take part in the trial. Each participant will be randomly assigned to receive treatment from either the Gamma Knife or craniotomy. These subjects will then receive follow-up treatment for the next three years.
The project will study which treatment more effectively improves the patient's quality of life and brain function post-surgery.
Current research suggests individuals who undergo craniotomies are hospitalized for four to six days after surgery, sometimes receiving treatment in the ICU. Patients treated with the Gamma Knife may be able to return home the same day, but the treatment may not completely eliminate seizures until six to 15 months after the operation. To determine which treatment is more cost-effective, the researchers will monitor the cost of each procedure combined with the cost of the follow-ups during the course of three years.
-compiled by Shatila Zaman