New MRI Technologies Found to Treat Epilepsy
As the world of medical research continues, exciting health news has hit the medical scene. Now, as reported on US News, new Magnetic Resonance Imaging [MRI] technologies have been found to detect, treat, and prevent epilepsy and seizures.
Now, thanks to this new technology, doctors worldwide can detect subtle abnormalities in the brain. Previously, these were difficult to identify. Now, these MRIs can aid in developing a plan for suitable surgeries and the elimination of seizures. “The newest type of MRI is called 7T because its magnetic field is seven-tesla units strong. For context, one tesla is about 20,000 times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field, and most MRIs in medical use are about one and a half times more powerful than that, or 1.5T. Once high-field MRIs using 3T magnets became available, research showed them superior to the 1.5T scans for detecting subtle brain abnormalities. The new 7T MRIs can bring abnormalities to light with even more clarity and precision,” reports the news source.
The Door to New Possibilities is Open
This new medical discovery of 7T MRI technology is opening the door at a significant rate to exciting new possibilities. When it comes to highly detailed brain images and the viewing and interpreting of the images, neuroradiologists can now find subtle brain abnormalities. Now, too, are they prepared to detect the specific abnormalities that may cause seizures.
Further, individual patients can be reviewed using multiple new types of evidence, with a newfound focus on specific brain regions that enable the detection of once hard-to-find abnormalities.
Poignant to note here, as described by U.S. News, “New computer techniques also enhance the detection of brain abnormalities that may cause seizures. These techniques are particularly helpful for identifying abnormalities involving the brain’s outer cortical layer, which are easy for the human eye to miss. These advanced techniques include the following:
- Voxel-based morphometry meticulously compares a patient’s MRI to a large database of normal MRIs and looks for areas with abnormal differences.
- MR fingerprinting, is a fundamentally new way to make MRI images that can compute the fraction of white matter and gray matter anywhere in the brain to spotlight abnormalities that are otherwise buried within the routine image.
- Radiomics is used to examine subtle variations between the small discrete elements of an image, known as pixels, and the surrounding pixels. Measuring these variations can reveal the texture of normal brain images and expose abnormal textures that are otherwise invisible to the eye.
- Simultaneous acquisition of MRI and EEG enables a computer to use the EEG information to help locate abnormalities in the brain that are otherwise undetectable.
- Other imaging combinations. After the acquisition, MRI can also be combined with positron emission tomography, or PET, which maps brain metabolism, or with magnetoencephalography, or MEG, which detects minute changes in the brain’s electromagnetic activity.”
All these can then be combined into a single common overlapping image. This certainly increases the probability of detecting subtle brain abnormalities. “The good news is that new technologies are now available to detect these abnormalities with greater accuracy, potentially identifying patients who may benefit from epilepsy surgery and have a chance at a better life.”
What Are Seizures and Epilepsy?
The fourth most common neurological disorder in the world, epilepsy, otherwise known as “seizure disorders”, is unknown to some U.S. citizens, while others may misunderstand it. For this reason, it is important to clarify what this condition actually is.
The Epilepsy Foundation states, “Epilepsy is a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures. A person is diagnosed with epilepsy if they have two unprovoked seizures (or one unprovoked seizure with the likelihood of more) that were not caused by some known and reversible medical condition like alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar.”
Should uncontrolled seizures be experienced, it is important to seek out a specialized epilepsy doctor or an expert in an epilepsy center. Individuals should then seek out an advanced MRI diagnosis and speak with a neurologist.
The CDC checklist recommends the following:
- Know about your condition.
- Take your seizure medicines as prescribed.
- Check with your doctor before taking other medicines or supplements.
- Keep a record of your seizures and seizure triggers to track patterns and learn how to avoid seizure triggers.
- Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise regularly and safely each day.
- Follow a well-balanced diet and keep a healthy weight.
- Don’t use tobacco, drink alcohol excessively, or abuse other substances.
- Practice ways to lower stress.
- Keep in touch with friends and family for support.
- Talk to your doctor about health concerns.
- Keep other health conditions in check.
- Get help for emotional problems.
- Use memory strategies to help with memory problems.
However, with these new MRI technologies, it is hoped that U.S. citizens will suffer less from this debilitating condition and enjoy a healthier, better quality of life. This new technology gives hope to all those suffering from epilepsy and seizures.