Glenda Saade suffered her first epileptic fit at 23. For the next 30 years, seizures were a frequent and disturbing part of her life. Aside from the physical pain they caused, there was the anxiety about when the next one might strike, and how serious it would be.
In January, Glenda had surgery guided by a revolutionary technique being developed at Swinburne University of Technology. Eight months on she is seizure-free, has cut her medication, travels independently and is looking forward to getting her driver’s license back.
The technique uses magnetoencephalography (MEG), a non-invasive way of reading and measuring the magnetic signals generated by brain activity, and locating their source. It was discovered in the 1960s, but recent advances have turned it into one of the safest and most powerful tools for interpreting brain function. Used in combination with electroencephalography, MEG is opening a new window into the processes and the precise location of the electrical storms that trigger an epileptic event.
So far, the team has successfully pinpointed and surgically removed the source of the trouble – usually a bundle of nerve cells less than five millimetres across, buried deep within the brain – in five people. They plan to continue using the technique to improve the recovery prospects for those suffering from focal epilepsy.
Read more here: Swinburne University.