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Doctors are now experimenting with several new types of therapies for epilepsy. In one preliminary research study, doctors have begun transplanting fetal pig neurons that produce GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) into the brains of patients to learn whether the cell transplants can help control seizures.
This preliminary research on epilepsy suggests that stem cell transplants also may prove beneficial for treating the disease.
Epilepsy research showing that the brain undergoes subtle changes prior to a seizure has led to a prototype device that may be able to predict seizures up to three minutes before they begin. If this device works, it could greatly reduce the risk of injury from seizures by allowing people to move to a safe area before their seizures start.
This type of device also may be hooked up to a treatment pump or other device that will automatically deliver an antiepileptic drug or an electric impulse to forestall the seizures.
Researchers are continually improving MRI and other brain scans. Presurgical brain imaging can guide doctors to abnormal brain tissue and away from essential parts of the brain. Epilepsy researchers also are using brain scans, such as magnetoencephalograms (MEG) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), to identify and study subtle problems in the brain that cannot otherwise be detected. Their findings may lead to a better understanding of epilepsy and how it can be treated.