Ann Conkle
Mar 7, 2012

Surgical treatment for epilepsy should not be viewed as a last resort

Among people who suffer from what's known as medically intractable epilepsy, in which seizures are resistant to drugs, only a small fraction will seek surgery, seeing it only as a last resort. As a result, they continue to suffer seizures year after year. They can't drive, they can't work and they lose cognitive function as the years pass. Premature death is not uncommon. But a multi-center study led by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) shows that for people suffering from intractable temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common form of intractable epilepsy, early surgical intervention followed by antiepileptic drugs stopped their seizures, improved their quality of life and helped them avoid decades of disability. "In short, they got their lives back," said Dr. Jerome Engel, the study's principal investigator and director of the UCLA Seizure Disorder Center.