November 1, 2021

Research Delivers Hope for Epilepsy Patients

Article originally published in Epilepsia

Combining electroencephalogram (EEG) data with clinical observations can help doctors to better determine whether generalized epilepsy patients will respond to treatment, according to a study led by Rutgers researchers.

The study, which was published this week in Epilepsia, the Official Journal of the International League Against Epilepsy, uses a new statistical model that is 80 percent accurate in distinguishing between drug-resistant and drug-responsive generalized epilepsy.

“Traditionally, we had few tools available to help us predict whether a patient will do well and remain seizure-free or continue to have seizures despite treatment with medications. This is difficult for patients to hear, especially when they are learning about their diagnosis for the first time,” said Brad Kamitaki, a neurologist at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) who treats epilepsy patients in New Jersey. “Seizures are distressing, life-threatening events that often require emergency hospitalization. The results of our study indicate that clinicians should consider obtaining prolonged EEG studies, as we found that combining clinical and EEG factors together provided better answers than using clinical observations alone. Epilepsy patients need to know more about their prognosis, and any additional information we can give them about their disease is valuable.”

The study also confirmed the researchers’ previous findings that catamenial epilepsy – when seizure frequency increases during a woman’s menstrual cycle – was strongly associated with treatment-resistance generalized epilepsy. The researchers came to this conclusion by expanding the number of test sites to include patient data sets and EEGs from five hospitals across the globe.

Learn More