Hemisphere Removal Can Help People Who Suffer From Seizures
Recently, a research article was published exploring how the removal of one hemisphere of the brain can help people who suffer from seizures. Seizures are one of the most common complications following a traumatic brain injury. A seizure results when the brain’s neurons fire in an uncoordinated manner. Seizures can manifest differently. Some people stare off into space while others have uncontrolled movements. Typically, individuals are not aware that a seizure is taking place. They often suffer from memory loss afterward.
Because seizures cause someone to temporarily lose control of his or her body, they are a serious quality of life issue. Therefore, it is important for individuals who suffer a TBI to know about the various seizure treatment options. In some cases, the removal of one hemisphere of the brain can be helpful.
Medications for Seizures
In some cases, prescription medications are needed to help someone who suffers from seizures. These medications work by altering the flow of ions in the neurons. Ions, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium, are electrically charged. When these ions move throughout the neurons, they trigger the movement of an action potential in the neuron. This causes the neuron to fire.
If the neurons fire in an uncontrolled manner, this leads to a seizure. To stop these seizures from happening, these medications change the movement of ions, controlling the neurons and preventing a seizure. Sometimes, this isn’t enough to stop seizures from happening.
Removal of a Hemisphere
In individuals whose seizures are not controlled with medications, removal of one hemisphere of the brain can be an effective treatment option. This is called a hemispherectomy. It is a relatively rare procedure; however, it has been shown to not only stop seizures but also improve someone’s cognitive functioning. This can drastically improve someone’s quality of life.
In order for someone to be a viable candidate for this neurosurgical procedure, the doctors need to know where in the brain the seizures are coming from. If the seizures are coming from both sides of the brain, removal of one hemisphere will halt the symptoms. On the other hand, following a TBI, seizures are often isolated to the injury location. Therefore, removal of this part of the brain can result in cognitive improvement.
The Brain can Compensate
It is normal for patients to have concerns about removing a part of their brain. Recently, a research paper was published showing that the brain can compensate effectively for the loss of this brain tissue. In the research article, the scientists studied six adults who had a portion of their brain removed due to recurrent seizures. The researchers found that the remaining tissue formed unusually strong connections, strengthening its neural networks. This means that the brain was able to continue to function as if the brain itself was still intact. These individuals were able to carry on meaningful conversations, exercise proper judgment, make important decisions, and go about their lives in a meaningful way. This research study demonstrates that even though a portion of the brain is removed, this can still result in a drastic improvement in someone’s quality of life. Furthermore, this procedure can effectively prevent future seizures.
Sacramento Brain Injury Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Brain Injury Attorney. Hemisphere removal can help someone suffering from seizures. If someone you care about has developed serious complications following a brain injury due to the negligence of another person or entity, you may contact me by dialing (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
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