Surgery for Drug-Resistant Epilepsy in Children

Shanterra Grable, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

Epilepsy affects 65 million people worldwide. Of those, 3.4 million are in the United States. One third of the people with epilepsy are thought to be resistant to available treatments and live with uncontrolled seizures. [1]

If seizures persist after two trials of the appropriate medication at the proper dose, they are considered to be “drug resistant”. [2] Surgery is an option if patients do not respond to medication therapy alone. These surgeries have been performed for over a century, and their use has seen a significant increase in the 1980s and 1990s. However, evidence suggests that success cannot be guaranteed; therefore, risk versus benefits of these procedures should be carefully weighed. [3]

It has been suggested that the earlier surgery is performed, the better patient outcomes are.  Despite the evidence, the Epilepsy Foundation recommends to consider surgery as a last resort. [3] Previously, a retrospective analysis of 142 children showed that 79.3% were free from seizures post surgery with an average follow up of four years. This study was performed as a follow up on to the aforementioned trial in order to compare outcomes of surgery to medical therapy alone. [4]

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Weight Loss and Health Status Three Years after Bariatric Surgery in Adolescents

Sarah Vo, Mercer University College of Pharmacy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States.  The CDC reports that about 17% (or 12.7 million) children and adolescents aged two to 19 years are obese in 2011 – 2012.  It is also reported that the prevalence of obesity among children aged two to five years decreased significantly from 13.9% in 2003 – 2004 to 8.4% in 2011 – 2012. [1]

Weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery are considered to be options when regular weight loss attempts have failed and medical problems persist.  One type of surgery is said to include gastric bypass, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.  This is said to be the most commonly performed weight loss surgery involving the creation of a small pouch that will serve as the new stomach.  The other type of surgery is said to include gastric sleeve.  It is suggested that this second-most common weight loss procedure involves removing a portion of the stomach and creating a “sleeve” from the remaining portion. [2]

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