At Memorial Healthcare Institute for Neuroscience, the medical team is dedicated to delivering the very best care possible, taking the time to understand each patient’s unique diagnosis and needs. Patients with epilepsy and other neurological conditions in Owosso and throughout the state of Michigan can find comprehensive services at Memorial Healthcare.
What Is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system. The primary symptom of epilepsy is recurrent and unprovoked seizures caused by abnormal brain activity. Typically, a patient is diagnosed with epilepsy after they have experienced multiple unprovoked seizures that were not caused by an identifiable medical condition.
In some cases, patients experience seizures as a result of a prior medical event like a stroke or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In other cases, the cause of the seizure is unknown. While the symptoms of a seizure may affect any part of the body, the electrical events that produce the symptoms occur in the brain. The location of that event, how it spreads, and how long it lasts can determine the character of a seizure.
Patients with epilepsy may experience more than one type of seizure. These can include:
- Simple focal seizure: This type of seizure affects a small part of the brain and may cause twitching or sensory changes
- Complex focal seizure:When this seizure occurs, a patient may feel confused or temporarily lose awareness.
- Tonic-clonic seizure: The most recognizable type of seizure, this may cause a person to fall to the ground, experience muscle spasms, or lose consciousness.
- Absence seizure: These seizures can occur in children and sometimes are misdiagnosed as attention disorders or daydreaming, as they only last a few seconds and may cause a person to blink rapidly or stare off into space.
Some patients experience more than one type of seizure. Recurring seizures can affect a patient’s safety, their ability to drive, and even their career and relationships. Public perception and treatment of individuals with epilepsy can also be an issue.
Diagnosing and Treating Epilepsy
Epilepsy affects patients of all ages and backgrounds. In addition to documenting a patient’s medical history and completing a physical examination, doctors may use one or more of the following tests to aid in diagnosis:
- Neuropsychological assessment: This test can help gauge a patient’s cognitive abilities to help determine if an abnormality in part of the brain is causing seizures.
- Blood work: A blood test can check for signs of infections, genetic conditions, or other underlying causes of seizures.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This imaging test allows a doctor to examine a patient’s brain tissue, looking for structural changes that may produce seizures.
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET): A PET scan can help identify changes in the brain’s metabolism or chemistry.
- Electroencephalography (EEG): This test uses electrodes attached to a patient’s scalp to monitor electrical signals in the brain. By measuring and analyzing brain waves, they may be able to identify the type and origin of a patient’s seizures.
While epilepsy can’t be cured, medication helps many patients manage the condition more effectively. Each patient responds to medication differently, and patients may need to try different types of anti-seizure drugs to find the medication regime that works best for them. Side effects of anti-seizure medication can include:
- Mood changes
Surgery is also a treatment option for patients whose seizures consistently originate in the same part of the brain. Some patients can be treated with thermal ablation, a less invasive surgical procedure that uses laser energy to destroy the brain cells that cause seizures.
About Memorial Healthcare Institute for Neuroscience
Memorial Healthcare Institute for Neuroscience is an employed physician practice of Memorial Medical Associates, a department of Memorial Healthcare. The institute boasts a medical team with extensive training in a variety of complex neurological diseases and conditions. In addition to epilepsy, patients can find treatment for conditions like multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease.
Memorial Healthcare Institute for Neuroscience is staffed by a team of dedicated doctors and nurses who believe in personalized, patient-centered care. Epilepsy care at the institute is led by neurologist Steven Simensky, MD, Ph.D. Dr. Simensky attended medical school at the University of Vermont and holds a Doctorate in Sport Psychology from Michigan State University. He is board-certified in epilepsy and neurology and has expertise in sports concussions and Electromyography (EMG) in addition to epilepsy. Dr. Simensky is currently accepting new patients with a wide range of insurance plans.
Memorial Healthcare leverages the latest technology to advance patient care, including NeuroQuant, a software that analyzes brain imaging to aid in the early detection and treatment of conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.