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Childhood Epilepsy Treatments

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The Future of Epilepsy Treatment

"Obviously, we want a cure," says Turk, "but we just don't have one yet. The closest thing we have to a cure for children is the hope that they will go into remission on their own as they get older."

But while a cure for epilepsy isn't imminent, progress in treatment is making a difference. Turk is optimistic that the increased money for epilepsy research in recent years will bring success. Advances have already been made in the development of new technology to treat epilepsy and assist in the surgical evaluation.

Some other promising work has been in the genetics of epilepsy. Researchers are beginning to learn how different types of the disease are inherited. Eventually, a better understanding of genetics could lead to more targeted and more effective treatments for the different varieties of seizures.

Solomon Moshe, MD, director of child neurology and clinical neurophysiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, says one big leap in treating childhood epilepsy will be the development of drugs that are specifically designed for children. Because it's harder to research medicines in children, kids with epilepsy wind up getting drugs that are designed for adults. Researchers are confirming that childhood epilepsy is significantly different from adult epilepsy. The next step is to make drugs specifically for children.

Turk is excited about the possibility of improving the treatments we already have. "One of the most exciting things in epilepsy treatment is that we now know that if we treat a person very carefully, we get a much better outcome," he says. "We don't have to settle for just getting close to controlling the condition."

"There's no magic bullet yet," Turk continues. "But treatment of epilepsy in children is now phenomenally better than it was ten years ago. And I know that in another ten years, it will be better still. That's where the hope lies."

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jon Glass on June 16, 2012
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