Seeing seizures: inside kids' brains

FRESNO, Calif.

Nearly ten percent of Americans have a seizure at some point in their lives. But for kids, finding relief can be a special challenge. We'll show you how doctors are making the seizures go away.

Twenty-five electrodes, seven days in the hospital, and hopefully an answer to one important question - why? Since she was three, 9-year-old Abby has been having seizures.

"I fall backwards- just all of a sudden," Abby told Action News.

A special unit at Phoenix Children's Hospital attracts young seizure patients from around the U.S. Each patient is monitored 24 hours a day on simultaneous video and EEG helping doctors visualize what they see happening to what's going on in the brain.

"And we can very quickly, in a cost effective fashion supplement what's known about them, and get them to an aggressive treatment protocol. He's very conscious. Now he's having the seizure, he stops moving, he looks down," Jeffrey Buchhalter, M.D., Ph.D., an epileptologist and division chief at Phoenix Children's Hospital told Action News.

On five-year-old Kade Ashton's first day in this unit a year and a half ago, he had more than one hundred seizures. A week of constant monitoring helped doctors find the best treatment.

"They tried different combinations of medications, when one didn't work they'd increase the dose of one or try another, they just took a different approach," Brooke Ashton, Kade's mom, told Action News.

Now that Kade is on two different epilepsy medications, his mom sees plenty of smiles.

"You know, he's a normal little boy, it's wonderful," Ashton concluded.

He's normal - and seizure free.

The pediatric monitoring seizure unit at Phoenix Children's Hospital is one of only a few of its kind in the country, helping patients who have lived with seizures, but haven't had success with treatment.

For more information, contact:

Allison Otu/Media Relations
Phoenix Children's Hospital

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