In the Netherlands there are about 130,000 patients with chronic epilepsy. There is currently no treatment for some of these people. About thirty to forty percent do not respond to medication and often surgery is not possible. Researchers and clinicians from the Mastro Radiotherapy Center, the Kempinhagian Epilepsy Center and Maastricht UMC+ now believe that microradiation could be a solution for them.
In the fall they will begin research in collaboration with the Epilepsy Center Sen, UMC Amsterdam and UMC Utrecht.
quality of life
says Albert Colon, MD, a neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist at ACE Kempenhaeghe. and Maastricht UMC+.
In the study, half of the patients were treated with regular medications, while the other half received micro-radiation. “We expect that some epilepsy patients will be able to achieve what’s called seizure freedom with this treatment. So that they don’t have seizures anymore. We also think some will be completely cured,” Colon tells EditieNL.
Quality of life is also determined after the examination. “Because that is, of course, our main goal: a good quality of life.”
Danielle Akers, a radiotherapist at Maastro, explains how the treatment works: “They’re high-energy X-rays. We call them photons. Sometimes I compare them to energy beams. Those beams go into one side of the body and the other side of the body. Others. They go out the other way.” Inside the body they release energy. If you send a lot of these packets of energy, for example, into a tumor, you can destroy it.”
But there are also risks to this treatment. Because patients move around a lot, there is a margin of one or two millimeters around the irradiated area, which can also damage healthy tissue. Since the researchers have received support, they can purchase a new, more accurate device. “You want it to be beamed as accurately as possible, especially into the brain, and that’s possible with this device,” Akers says. Side effects such as headaches and damage to healthy tissue are also more limited.
So much to learn
Research is currently being conducted on whether micro-radiation can also be effective, for example, in psychiatric disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. “Usually, the surgeon makes a small cut in the brain, but not everyone can perform this operation.” Researchers are also studying whether radiation can help arrhythmias.
“Who knows what else might come in handy. I don’t rule anything out. There is still a lot to learn.”
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