Study aims to predict treatment response in epilepsy patients

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With the aid of $2.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Vanderbilt researchers are on a quest to develop early biomarkers of treatment outcomes for patients with temporal lobe epilepsy based on their individual brain networks.

While anti-epileptic medication is successful in treating roughly 70 percent of these patients, drug trials can take decades and don’t always end with relief. Patients who don’t respond to medication may be eligible for a surgical removal of the seizures’ presumed originating site, or “focus,” within the brain, but a recurrence of seizures is always possible, even if the patient has been seizure free for several years following surgery.

Victoria Morgan, PhD, associate professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, said a better understanding of the progression of epilepsy may aid clinicians in making treatment decisions, with a goal of providing quicker relief to patients who are suffering.