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Neurology - Innovative Treatments for Epilepsy

Although 10 percent of the American population will experience a seizure, the causes of epilepsy are still under study. For some people, the condition is inherited. For others, it’s the result of injury. In either case, Cleveland Clinic Florida’s neurologists are experts at diagnosing and treating this condition.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes people to have seizures, or a disruption of electrical activity in the brain. Each year, more than 200,000 new cases of seizures and epilepsy occur, affecting about 3 million Americans of all ages, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. However, advances in drug and surgery treatments allow many people to live productive lives.

“Most people with epilepsy lead lives essentially unimpaired by their condition, and at Cleveland Clinic Florida we recommend a course of treatment based on an individual’s medical history and needs,” said Adriana Rodriguez, MD, Neurologist at Cleveland Clinic Florida.

When someone thinks they’ve had a seizure, the first step is to determine if it was due to epilepsy or another cause such as injury or an illness. The most common test to determine the cause of a seizure is electroencephalography (EEG) which is available at Cleveland Clinic Florida. In this painless procedure, electrodes attached to the head reveal the brain’s electrical activity. Cleveland Clinic Florida also offers video EEG monitoring if the neurologist needs to obtain additional information. With this procedure, the patient remains in the monitoring suite for up to five days while the neurologist monitors their brain activity using video technology. In addition, imaging methods such as CT scans, MRIs or PET scan are also used for diagnostic purposes. These tests may be used to search for scars or growths on the brain that could cause seizures. Images help pinpoint areas of the brain that may not be working normally.

Once a diagnosis is made, a doctor may recommend either surgical or non-surgical treatment options. Medications can be used to control seizures allowing the patient to drive a car, play sports and fully participate in many daily activities.

For others, the seizures control their lives. Some experience hundreds of seizures a day and struggle to work and take care of their families. For these people, surgery may be an option.

Cleveland Clinic Florida is one of the leading centers for treatment of epilepsy. Both medical and surgical options are available. A specialist will help determine the best course of action for each individual.  You may schedule an appointment online or by calling toll-free 800.639.DOCTOR.