National experts came to speak at today’s epilepsy conference in Omaha, to share new treatments and medication ideas with doctors who treat patients suffering from seizure disorders. Doctor Sanjay Singh directs the Epilepsy Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.In Nebraska, there are about 20-thousand patients with the condition, and perhaps six to have difficult-to-manage epilepsy and require a program to help treat them. He says this is the ONLY epilepsy center in Nebraska, Western Iowa, or South Dakota. Because of the high demand, Dr. Singh said they are currently scheduling patients six months in advance, though exceptions are made for more complex cases.In the last 8 years, he says eight new drugs have come on the market to treat epilepsy, so patients have more treatment options. Dr. Singh says technology also offers alternative and additional treatment choices.Apart from medications, which remain a mainstay of treatment, they evaluate a patient for other options like surgery, locating which part of their brain causes their seizures and then operating to remove it. Some new forms of treatment under study are a radiation therapy called “gamma knife” and also magnetic stimulation of the brain) The nearest chapter of the Epilepsy Foundation of America is located in Rockford, Illinois, and advocates are working on starting one closer to Iowa and Nebraska. An estimated two-point-three million people in the U.S. live with epilepsy. About 181-thousand new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed each year in the country and 42-people die as a result of prolonged seizures. It’s estimated epilepsy costs the country more than 12-and–a-half billion dollars a year.
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