Brain 'print' offers hope on epilepsy

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The Independent Online
A NEW technique which allows doctors to look inside the brains of epilepsy patients will help identify those who would benefit from surgery and a possible cure.

Scientists and doctors have succeeded in using magnetic resonance scanning - a common diagnostic technique - to take a series of snapshots of the brain and build up a three dimensional 'brain print'.

According to the National Society for Epilepsy, information from the scan can be used to reconstruct a moving picture on a computer screen which can be stripped away to examine the layers of the brain in detail.

Dr Simon Shorvon, a consultant neurologist and medical director of the NSE, speaking at the Institute of Neurology in London, yesterday, said: 'This new technique is living pathology, enabling us to look at the anatomical features of the human brain in minute detail.

'It can show changes in the brain that may have been hidden and which could be susceptible to treatment.'

About 150 patients undergo surgery to treat epilepsy each year. It is estimated that this number could be increased to around 1,000.

The scan would also help doctors choose the most effective drugs. Epilepsy affects more than 350,000 people in Britain, including 100,000 children.

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