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High-Powered Brain Scan Pinpoints Man's Seizures

Diagnosed with epilepsy when he was five, Ravi Stewart was able to control his seizures with a cocktail of medicines - until he turned 17.

Posted: Mar. 26, 2018 10:10 PM


CLEVELAND CLINIC NEWS NETWORK - Ravi Stewart, 19, makes studying look easy, but that wasn't always the case.

"I had no short term memory; I could study for days and the day of the test I didn't know anything," said Ravi.

Diagnosed with epilepsy when he was five, Ravi was able to control his seizures with a cocktail of medicines until he turned 17.

"Whether it was the hormones that hit, or teenage angst, or stress - whatever it was - he suddenly started having multiple seizures a day again," said Ravi's mother, Sangeeta Stewart.

Some days Ravi would have as many as 80 seizures he couldn't leave the house, was constantly tired, and struggled with school. That's when he enrolled in a research study at Cleveland Clinic to test a high powered brain scan called the 7-Tesla MRI.

"This testing allowed us to explore and reveal the area of the brain that was causing the epilepsy a small spot in the brain that had not formed properly during early brain development," said Elaine Wyllie, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic.

After years of trying to pin-point the location of Ravi's seizures, doctors now had the information they needed to operate.

"We knew that his seizures were arising from the frontal lobe, on the left side of the brain," said Dr. Wyllie. "We also knew that language function was located nearby so developing a surgical strategy was quite challenging."

The portion of Ravi's brain that was causing epilepsy was removed, and his seizures have virtually disappeared.

"I've graduated, I got my Eagle Scout, things are definitely better; I definitely feel happier," said Ravi.

"To have this man emerge post-surgery who's so optimistic and so ready to conquer the world, it's amazing; it's a game changer for sure," Sangeeta Stewart said.

Ravi is currently studying to be a pediatric nurse. His dream is to work with kids who have special needs and draw on his childhood experiences to aid parents and children as they cope with their medical conditions.

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