CLEVELAND -- Tristan Thompson has a reason for wanting to visit the Cleveland Clinic Epilepsy Unit. It's a condition that's near to his heart because his six-year-old brother suffers from the condition.
Thompson also understands the struggles families face to pay for treatment, because before he went Pro it was difficult for his own family. "It costs a lot, medicine, seeing doctors tests so I want to raise awareness and money to help those that are not fortunate enough to help pay for it," Thompson says.
21-year-old Taylor Nuss of South Russell was one of dozens of patients Thompson visited. She had surgery Tuesday, called Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG). It's a surgical procedure that is used to identify areas of the brain where epileptic seizures originate.
During SEEG, doctors place tiny electrodes in targeted brain areas, which are then monitored to precisely locate the seizure source. This is typically used for complex cases, when the origin of the seizures isn't known.
The surgeon uses sophisticated brain mapping to determine the placement of the electrodes in the brain and a robot helps guide the placement. This technique can also better pinpoint where the seizures are coming from, so doctors can remove less brain matter. But they have to determine the best area to implant those electrodes.
That's why they're studying a new method using EEG and Functional MRIs to look at brain regions involved at the time of seizures. "It gives us a very nice picture in a three dimensional view of where exactly the epileptic siezures are coming from," says Dr. Imad Najm, Director of the Cleveland Clinic's Epilepsy Center.
Using both EEG and fMRI at the same time allows researchers to measure th blood oxygen levels in specific brain regions and correlate them with spikes in activity. Once they pinpoint the right spot of the brain where the seizures are located, and if it's operable, they'll remove that section of brain and hopefully alleviate the seizures.
So Taylor is literally wired up and waiting to have a seizure for the procedure to work. So getting a chance to say hello to a Cleveland Cavalier was a nice break. As for Thompson, he was happy to see where his brother may stay when he comes to Cleveland. "I'm living in Cleveland so it's not bad to have mom come down and have some home cooked meals," Thompson says.