16-06-2015 | Could a Hemispherotomy help language development in epilepsy patients?

16 June 2015
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A hemispherotomy is an operation that disconnects the cortex of one half of the brain from the other without removing it.

A new study has shown how hemispherotomy procedures can have a positive impact on language development in certain epilepsy patients.

The study was conducted by the Medical University Wien. Its aim was to investigate language development and evaluate prognostic factors for favourable outcomes among 28 children and adolescents who successfully underwent vertical perithalamic hemispherotomies.

According to results published in the medical journal Seizure, significant gains in language quotients at last follow-up were found in 31 per cent of the children.

Short disease duration prior to surgery, acquired pathology, lack of epileptiform EEG discharges in the contralateral hemisphere and/or normalisation of EEG sleep patterns after surgery, and successful antiepileptic drug withdrawal were linked to favourable outcomes.

The researchers concluded that: "Successful and early hemispherotomy results in improvement of language function in the intact hemisphere."

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