Morning Mix


Treating epilepsy and seizures in children

Posted at 12:11 PM, Nov 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-18 12:10:50-05

Epilepsy is a common disorder that can affect people of all ages, including young children. For young children, this neurological condition makes them more susceptible to having seizures that can be caused by many things, yet in many cases there isn't a detectable cause for them.

Dr. Artur Szymczak, a neurosurgeon with Spectrum Health’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, came on the Morning Mix to talk about managing epilepsy, the many causes of epilepsy and treatment options available.

Epilepsy is the most common disorder in the nervous system, so anything that interrupts the connection between nerve cells in the brain can provoke a seizure. Conditions that can cause seizures include a high fever, low blood sugar, alcohol or drug withdraw and a grain concussion.

A seizure involved abnormal electrical activity in the brain. A general seizure effects both sides of the brain, but in some cases partial seizures can start in a certain part of the brain and can either remain in that space, or spread out.

When there's two or more unprovoked seizures, the person or child is considered to have epilepsy. However in most cases, there's no detectable cause for epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a condition that effects the everyday lives of families and kids in a negative way. In the case of children, they lose function of their body, their intellect, memory and even their ability to communicate. For the parents, not only do they stress about the well being of their child, but there's also financial strain from missing work, hospital bills and caretakers.

Luckily, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital provides surgical and non-surgical options to help the family with treatments to help a child with epilepsy. After discussing the patient's history with a medical provider, they either observe the patient and prescribe medications or move on to surgery.

Depending on the child's condition, doctors can either perform open surgical procedures that remove what's causing the seizure, vagal nerve simulators which are mild pulses of electricity to the brain, or visualase laser ablation.

Thanks to modern technology and medicine, doctors can help children and adults take control of their lives again.

Helen DeVos Pediatric Neurosurgery is located on 35 Michigan Street Northeast in Suite 3003. For more information on their procedures and epilepsy, call (616) 267-2570.