Laser Surgery Shows Promise Halting Seizures in Epilepsy Sufferers
Justin Wan is not one to radiate unfettered optimism or make bold statements about his future.
More than 10 years of battling epilepsy will do that to a person who never knows when the next seizure will strike. Wan can't drive, swim alone or live by himself. Crossing streets, taking a bath, riding a bike and new environments in general can pose unforeseen perils and pitfalls.
This time last year, Wan, 20, often couldn't make it more than week without an epileptic attack and his senses were dulled by heavy doses of anti-seizure medications. But today, the only outward sign that he suffered from debilitating seizures is a small staple scar on the top of his head, hidden by a headful of thick black hair - where surgeons in December inserted a tiny laser that zapped out a lesion in his brain. He hasn't had a seizure since.
"It was on this side somewhere," the San Jose State junior said, feeling around with his fingers on his cranium's right side.
"I was prepared for anything to backfire, but so far, everything is fine," Wan said, reaching for his family's wooden coffee table to give it a good knock with his hands -- then, with both feet, jokingly. "I don't want to jinx myself."
Although a new laser surgery treatment is not the answer for every epilepsy patient, it is showing promise in cases such as Wan's, where the seizures stem from an identifiable area localized deep in the brain.
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