Doctors Take Part Of Boy's Brain To Stop 100 Seizures A Day - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Doctors Take Part Of Boy's Brain To Stop 100 Seizures A Day

YAHOO.COM - Tom Parrent was home alone with his son 3-year-old Sam -- better known as "Spike" -- when after lunch the boy told his father he was "really, really tired" and need to take a nap.

The North Carolina preschooler couldn't even make it upstairs to bed, so he collapsed on the couch and drifted off to sleep.

"A few minutes later, I heard this animal scream and he was in grand mal seizure," said Parrent, 51, a senior managing director at AIG. "Up to that point he had been a perfectly healthy boy. It was absolutely terrifying."

The event in January 2011 lasted about five minutes, but in the grueling year ahead, Spike's seizures escalated to 70 to 100 a day. Doctors were ready to put him in a coma, and his parents feared that he would die.

By November, Spike was referred to the Cleveland Clinic where surgeons removed half of the frontal lobe of his brain, a radical step, but one that saved his life. Today, the boy is in kindergarten and is not only seizure free, but is as healthy as any other boy his age.

"He's doing exceptionally well," his father said. "Although specialists can see some differences in timing of development from his peers, in every other way he is just a normal, happy, healthy kid."

In a study published this week in the Annals of Neurology, researchers have found that for the youngest epilespy patients for whom medication doesn't work, frontal lobe surgery can stop seizures -- in many cases forever.

Doctors say the brain essentially rewires itself to compensate for the removed lobe or lobes. Where the seizure originates is essentially damaged and so removing it actually helps the health of the brain.

"We have a chance with this surgery to really give people their life back," said Dr. Lara Jehi, lead study author and director of the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Center, where about 100 pediatric surgeries are performed each year.

Researchers reviewed 158 patients who underwent frontal lobe epilepsy surgery from 1995 to 2010. They found that patients who had a shorter duration of epilepsy were almost twice as likely to be seizure free after surgery.

Epilepsy is a chronic medical condition marked by recurrent seizures, an altered brain function caused by abnormal, excessive or electrical discharges from brain cells.

It affects an estimated 3 million Americans, or about 1 percent of the population, according to the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy. About 1 in 4 patients do not respond to medication, and for them, a frontal lobectomy can provide a "cure."

Those with the worst form of epilepsy -- with convulsions and big seizures with stiffening and shaking -- usually have malfunctions in the frontal lobe, according to Jehi.

Those who are resistant to medication are apt to suffer injuries and accidents. They are also three to 12 times more prone to sudden death.

"They go to sleep and never wake up," she said.

Most epilepsy patients wait decades before being offered surgery and doctors say more might seek this option.

The frontal lobe part of the brain, which controls executive functions and language, was once considered "difficult to tackle," Jehi said.

"We found that the mere fact of time -- waiting too long before you do surgery -- is the most harmful thing you can do to a patient's brain," Jehi said.

Patients who have surgery within five years of epilepsy onset have an 80 percent to 90 percent chance of being seizure-free for life, she said.

"If you wait more than five years, it drops to 10 percent," she said.

Surgery may sound daunting, but Jehi said the mortality rate is less than .02 percent. And the earlier it is done, the better the outcome.

Such was the case with Spike, but the family's journey to get answers was difficult.

After Spike's first seizure, doctors told Parrent and his wife Jo Jo, 41, that it was likely caused by a fever and was "normal."

"They said it's scary, but that's the end of it," said Parrent. "He resumed all his activities and was fine."

But soon, the boy had more seizures, "less severe, but still horribly frightening," his father said. "Then one day, he had six of them."

Spike was put on seizure medication, drugs that made him hyperactive and still didn't curb the epileptic episodes. On a visit to a neurologist, the boy had a seizure right in the office.

The seizures increased to 10 a day, then 20 a day. "Sometimes, he'd get a cluster of them, four or five at once," Parrent said.

In late January, the family took Spike to Duke University to see one of the world's leading pediatric neurologists, Dr. Mohamad Mikati.

"Spike was completely bedridden, but aware," Parrent said. "In the middle of seizure they would say a phrase completely out of context -- 'pink giraffe' -- and when they would ask him, 'What did I say?' when he was fully conscious, he would get it right. He could hear everything."

A series of drugs didn't work. Now the seizures were coming 50 times a day. At one point a team of specialists convened just to discuss Spike's unusual condition.

"Often at a conference, a patient will have three doctors involved -- Spike had 24," his father said. "We had absolutely everybody and kudos to Duke for flooding the resources in."

Soon the seizures were up to 70 a day and brain imaging couldn't find what was causing them, Duke doctors recommended surgery.

Surgeons drilled through the skull and took a biopsy to rule out cancer.

"The surgeon came out shaking his head -- he had never seen anything like this," Parrent said. "It was a material they couldn't identify. ... It indicated something might be going on, but nothing obvious."

Grasping at straws, Spike's family tried alternative medicine: a strict ketogenic diet that can change the body chemistry.

The ketogenic diet forces the child's body to burn fat around the clock by making fat the main food and keeping carbohydrates or sugars low. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, doctors don't know why a diet "that mimics starvation" by burning fat for energy works, but for some, it prevents seizures.

"We measured to the 10th of every gram for every meal, typically a cup of heavy cream and several ounces of butter and small piece of meat and one piece of broccoli," Parrent said. "It was horrible and he never had any relief from it."

After three days on the diet in the hospital, Spike's seizures subsided for 24 hours.

"We were stunned," he said. And at home, Spike "stuck the diet like no one else. He didn't go off it once."

Spike, now 4, never lost his upbeat personality.

"He was a favorite on the ward," his father said. "He accepted everything without a complaint the entire sickness."

At one point a technician doing an EEG offered the boy a lollipop and Spike refused.

And he never lost his sense of humor.

"Dr. Mikati met with us and showed us the actual EEG tracings. After he left, Spike asked to see what the EEG looked like," Parrent said. "He looked at the tracings for awhile and then pointed to the more active parts of the EEG. 'So,' Spike said, 'This part shows the spikes and these are slowing and here are the seizures.'"

His father confirmed he was right and Spike added, "From now on, I want to be called Mr. Smooth. I don't want any more spikes."

Spike stayed on the ketogenic diet for six months, but by August the seizures came back with a vengeance. A series of MRIs revealed a shadow, suggesting a genetic malformation of the right side frontal lobe of his brain.

Doctors at Duke referred Spike to the Cleveland Clinic. Doctors thought the brain was operable and surgery was scheduled.

Spike's last seizure was on Nov. 9, 2011, the day of his final surgery.

Today, at 6, Spike is thriving.

"His attention span is better," his father said. "His intelligence is fully there and he reads and writes. As we took him off the drugs, he's doing much better in school and is still incredibly bright and happy. Nothing prevents him from doing anything he wants.

"He's a normal kid in all regards."

His family later learned a malformation from birth was causing the seizures and surgery had corrected that.

"It was waiting there like a bomb," his father said. "It would have killed him."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Victims in Lewiston double homicide identified

    Victims in Lewiston double homicide identified

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 9:38 PM EST2017-11-23 02:38:39 GMT

    LEWISTON, Idaho - Autopsies have been performed on the two women who were found dead in Lewiston on Tuesday. One victim was identified as suspect Richard Allen Carlin's ex-wife, 72-year-old Raetta Dee Carlin. The other woman was identified as 50-year-old Michelle Lynn Carlin, the daughter of Raetta and Richard Carlin.

    >>

    LEWISTON, Idaho - Autopsies have been performed on the two women who were found dead in Lewiston on Tuesday. One victim was identified as suspect Richard Allen Carlin's ex-wife, 72-year-old Raetta Dee Carlin. The other woman was identified as 50-year-old Michelle Lynn Carlin, the daughter of Raetta and Richard Carlin.

    >>
  • Semi crash on I-90 in Coeur d'Alene blocks eastbound lanes for hours

    Semi crash on I-90 in Coeur d'Alene blocks eastbound lanes for hours

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 10:41 PM EST2017-11-23 03:41:53 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - One person was taken to the hospital after a crash with a semi truck in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Wednesday morning. It happened around 11:45 a.m. Idaho State Police report a white 2017 Freightliner truck towing three box trailers driven by 40-year-old Ricardo T.J. Saenz of Pasco, Washington. was headed eastbound and attempted to change lanes.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - One person was taken to the hospital after a crash with a semi truck in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Wednesday morning. It happened around 11:45 a.m. Idaho State Police report a white 2017 Freightliner truck towing three box trailers driven by 40-year-old Ricardo T.J. Saenz of Pasco, Washington. was headed eastbound and attempted to change lanes.

    >>
  • Man charged in police pursuit crash that killed 3-year-old

    Man charged in police pursuit crash that killed 3-year-old

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 7:31 PM EST2017-11-23 00:31:28 GMT

     WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - A teenage driver who authorities say crashed his car at an intersection while fleeing police, killing a 3-year-old and injuring four other people faces charges.    Eighteen-year-old Zekhi Lee was charged Wednesday with first-degree manslaughter and evading responsibility in connection with the Tuesday afternoon crash. He's being held on $1.2 million bail.

    >>

     WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - A teenage driver who authorities say crashed his car at an intersection while fleeing police, killing a 3-year-old and injuring four other people faces charges.    Eighteen-year-old Zekhi Lee was charged Wednesday with first-degree manslaughter and evading responsibility in connection with the Tuesday afternoon crash. He's being held on $1.2 million bail.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 22nd

    Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 22nd

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 5:24 PM EST2017-11-22 22:24:30 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 22nd.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Wednesday, November 22nd.

    >>
  • Commission alerted to review allegations against TripAdvisor

    Commission alerted to review allegations against TripAdvisor

    Thursday, November 23 2017 1:07 AM EST2017-11-23 06:07:07 GMT

    BOSTON (AP) - The Federal Trade Commission could take action against TripAdvisor after the Massachusetts-based travel company was accused of deleting hotel reviews that contained allegations of rape and other crimes. Several people told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this month they were sexually assaulted at Mexican hotels and resorts but the online reviews that mentioned the crimes were taken down. The Boston Globe says after the report was published Democratic Wi...

    >>

    BOSTON (AP) - The Federal Trade Commission could take action against TripAdvisor after the Massachusetts-based travel company was accused of deleting hotel reviews that contained allegations of rape and other crimes. Several people told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this month they were sexually assaulted at Mexican hotels and resorts but the online reviews that mentioned the crimes were taken down. The Boston Globe says after the report was published Democratic Wi...

    >>
  • The Latest: States investigate Uber over massive data breach

    The Latest: States investigate Uber over massive data breach

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 9:22 PM EST2017-11-23 02:22:06 GMT

    NEW YORK (AP) - The Latest on the data breach at Uber (all times local):  6:30 p.m. More U.S. states say they're investigating Uber over the ride-hailing company's massive data breach.    Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican, sent a letter Wednesday telling Uber to notify customers if their personal information might have been affected and demanding that the ride-hailing company make changes to protect data.    Massachusetts Attorney ...

    >>

    NEW YORK (AP) - The Latest on the data breach at Uber (all times local):  6:30 p.m. More U.S. states say they're investigating Uber over the ride-hailing company's massive data breach.    Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican, sent a letter Wednesday telling Uber to notify customers if their personal information might have been affected and demanding that the ride-hailing company make changes to protect data.    Massachusetts Attorney ...

    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Head-on crash kills 1, injures 8, when driver attempts to pass slow-moving vehicle on Hwy 95

    Head-on crash kills 1, injures 8, when driver attempts to pass slow-moving vehicle on Hwy 95

    Thursday, November 23 2017 3:28 PM EST2017-11-23 20:28:13 GMT

    SAGLE, Idaho - A fatal and serious injury head-on crash has killed one man and injured eight others, including five children, who all had to be transported to Kootenai Health. The crash occurred on Wednesday, November 22, the day before Thanksgiving, on Highway 95 at milepost 466.5, two miles south of Sagle, Idaho.

    >>

    SAGLE, Idaho - A fatal and serious injury head-on crash has killed one man and injured eight others, including five children, who all had to be transported to Kootenai Health. The crash occurred on Wednesday, November 22, the day before Thanksgiving, on Highway 95 at milepost 466.5, two miles south of Sagle, Idaho.

    >>
  • Sound heard in Argentine sub search could be explosion

    Sound heard in Argentine sub search could be explosion

    Thursday, November 23 2017 2:45 PM EST2017-11-23 19:45:18 GMT

    MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina (AP) - Argentina's navy announced Thursday that a sound detected during the search for a missing submarine is consistent with that of an explosion - an ominous development in the hunt for the vessel and its 44 crew members.   Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said that the relatives of the crew have been informed and that the search will continue until there is full certainty about the fate of the ARA San Juan.

    >>

    MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina (AP) - Argentina's navy announced Thursday that a sound detected during the search for a missing submarine is consistent with that of an explosion - an ominous development in the hunt for the vessel and its 44 crew members.   Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said that the relatives of the crew have been informed and that the search will continue until there is full certainty about the fate of the ARA San Juan.

    >>
  • Wind advisory with winds up to 55mph in effect until 5pm

    Wind advisory with winds up to 55mph in effect until 5pm

    Thursday, November 23 2017 2:19 PM EST2017-11-23 19:19:27 GMT

    KHQ.COM - It's is going to be a windy and wet Thanksgiving day! We are under a wind advisory for parts of the inland northwest in eastern Washington and N. Idaho from 11am - 5pm today. Gusts could get up to 55mph which is something you'll want to keep in mind if you're frying those turkeys outside. Sustained winds will be between 15 and 25mph. Winds are expected to peak between 1 and 3pm.

    >>

    KHQ.COM - It's is going to be a windy and wet Thanksgiving day! We are under a wind advisory for parts of the inland northwest in eastern Washington and N. Idaho from 11am - 5pm today. Gusts could get up to 55mph which is something you'll want to keep in mind if you're frying those turkeys outside. Sustained winds will be between 15 and 25mph. Winds are expected to peak between 1 and 3pm.

    >>