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News Year 2013

A Mountaineer, Painter and Teacher Prove Life Goes on After Epilepsy

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Marking National Epilepsy Day last week, 3 Mumbaikars living with the disease share the effect it has had on their lives and the determination to succeed that spurred them to fight and conquer it

Epilepsy, which affects about 1 per cent of the population, is one of the most poorly understood diseases in India. Caused by a viral infection that spreads to the brain, the disease can affect anyone at any stage of life.

Experts say that over the past two years, the incidence of epilepsy has increased significantly; they attribute this rise to the increasing number of head injuries from road accidents and the consumption of uncooked meat and vegetables — both risk factors for for the infection that causes epilepsy.

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16-yr-old undergoes brain surgery while awake and humming songs

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The challenge with epileptic Arvind was to remove focal point of seizures, while retaining part of brain that gives him musical cognition

While doctors wielded the scalpel and manoeuvered through parts of his brain, 16–year–old Arvind Mohan Kumar was singing away in the operation theatre. In a rather unusual method to rid the teenager of epilepsy while simultaneously saving his exceptional musical abilities, a team of doctors at Nimhans used a first–of–its–kind technique to operate on the boy while awake, using only local anaesthesia.

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Genetic Trigger for Epilepsy Discovered

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Researchers at the University Department of Neurology at the MedUni Vienna have identified a gene behind an epilepsy syndrome, which could also play an important role in other idiopathic (genetically caused) epilepsies.

With the so-called “next generation sequencing”, with which genetic changes can be identified within a few days, it was ascertained that the CNTN2 gene is defective in this type of epilepsy.

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