Epilepsy: 80 Seizures A Day To None!


CLEVELAND, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — One in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. Some people with this condition have persistent and severe seizures that can’t be controlled with medicine. Surgery is an option, but only if doctors can locate the exact problem area in the brain. Now, a new type of imaging is allowing them to do just that. Here’s how it gave one teen the life he always wanted.

Nineteen-year-old Ravi Stewart has battled epilepsy for most of his life. In high school, he had up to 80 seizures every single day.

“Having people know about it, I was definitely bullied for most of it. It definitely made it hard to go to school and stay caught up,” Stewart told Ivanhoe.

Ravi took four different meds, but none controlled his seizures. And, he wasn’t a candidate for surgery because doctors couldn’t locate the problem spot in his brain.

Elaine Wyllie, MD, Neurologist and Epilepsy Specialist, Cleveland Clinic explained, “No matter how hard everyone tried, the seizures continued relentlessly.” (Read Full Interview)

That’s when Ravi enrolled in a research protocol at the Cleveland Clinic. Doctors used a brand-new MRI machine, called 7 Tesla, to look inside his brain. It allows them to get at a deeper level inside the cells. With the device, they located the faulty area that was causing Ravi’s seizures, the one other doctors couldn’t find.

Dr. Wyllie continued, “The abnormality became clear.”

Ravi then had surgery to remove the lesion. Surgeons precisely targeted the area in his brain without harming nearby regions that control language.

A year later, Ravi is completely seizure-free!

“It’s a whole new life. It’s a whole new person. I didn’t know this person existed behind the Ravi that we knew,” Sangeeta Lakhani, Ravi’s Mother stated.

Ravi said, “Things are definitely better. I definitely feel happier.”

And now he has the life he always wanted. One without seizures.

There are only a handful of 7 Tesla MRI machines in the world. Cleveland Clinic researchers are currently investigating how the scanner works for epilepsy. Preliminary results show 7 Tesla images enhance previous findings in nearly half of epilepsy patients imaged.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Field Producer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4339

BACKGROUND: Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. It is also known as seizure disorder, and is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures (or one with a high risk for more) that were not caused by some known medical condition. Seizures as seen in epilepsy patients are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. The seizures may be related to a brain injury or even familial history, but most of the time the cause is unknown. 65 million people around the world have epilepsy, and one in 26 people in the U.S. will develop it at some point in their lifetime.

(Source: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/about-epilepsy-basics)

SYMPTOMS: Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in brain cells, these related seizures can affect any process your brain is coordinating. Seizure signs and symptoms may include temporary confusion, uncontrollable jerking movement in the arms and legs, staring spells, or loss of consciousness or awareness. Symptoms will vary depending on the type of seizure, and in most cases a person with epilepsy will show similar signs from episode to episode.

(Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20350093)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Surgery is one treatment option for patients with epilepsy, but only if the seizures cannot be controlled with medicine and the doctors can locate the exact problem area in the brain. Now a new type of imaging is allowing them to do this. The 7-Tesla MRI scanner allows doctors to reach a deeper level inside the cells. With this device, they were able to locate an epilepsy patient’s faulty brain area which was causing his seizures. The patient was then able to go through surgery to have the lesion removed. Surgeons precisely targeted the area without harming nearby regions including the region that controlled his language.

(Sources: Elaine Wyllie, MD)

MORE FROM DR. WYLLIE: “Ravi Stewart was enrolled in a research protocol at the Cleveland Clinic. Doctors used a brand-new MRI machine which has much higher magnet strength than does conventional MRIs. Magnet strength is measured in Tesla units – and just to give a sense of this, the usual MRIs are 1.5 or 3 Tesla, and the new research magnet is 7 Tesla. The 7 Tesla magnet provides a much more detailed view of every aspect of the brain’s anatomy, in in Ravi’s case it allowed his doctors to detect a subtle but very important abnormality that turned out to be the cause of his seizures.”


Andrea Pacetti


Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Elaine Wyllie, MD

Read the entire Q&A