May 15, 2023

Improving Seizure Freedom After Epilepsy Surgery

Article published by Epilepsy Action

A network of connections in the brain could be the key to improving frontal lobe epilepsy surgery, according to new research from the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology.

The research, published in the journal Brain, suggests that disconnecting certain pathways in the frontal lobe could lead to longer-lasting seizure freedom after brain surgery.

Some people with epilepsy can have brain surgery to try to stop their seizures when epilepsy medicines don’t work. But in people with frontal lobe epilepsy, only around a third (30%) remain seizure free in the long term after surgery.

The networks of connections that the researchers identified link the frontal lobe to brain structures deep in the brain, including the thalamus and striatum. These control things like sensory and motor signals, motor control and emotion.

In their research, 47 people with damage in the frontal lobe of their brain had these networks disconnected. The results showed nearly nine in 10 people stayed seizure free three years after the surgery, and between seven and eight in 10 were seizure free after five years.

The research found that this surgery also did not have negative effects on language or on executive functions like planning, self-control and focus. However, other functions, such as mood or emotions, still need to be studied.