Printer Friendly

Epilepsy. The brain misfires, and sparks of electrical activity burst into storms. Seizures occur in an instant and effects range from blurred vision to fluttering eyelids to flailing limbs to convulsions.

Chris Stones accelerated his Mazda from a stoplight, faded to the right, bounced off a curb and sideswiped a car in the center lane, causing it to bump into another vehicle.

And he didnt know it.

When his brain finally kicked in, he noticed that his car was swaying and the front fender was bent. He wondered if he had been the victim of a hit and run.

He pulled over at a gas station and called police.

As they arrived, so did a witness who had also called 911 and was now giving an account. Thats when it sunk in for Stones that he was solely responsible for what had happened.

He told the police he had no memory of what had happened on that September day in 2008. They treated him as if he was on drugs or alcohol conducting a field sobriety test, yelling at him, shoving him against the car and slapping on handcuffs hand·cuff  
A restraining device consisting of a pair of strong, connected hoops that can be tightened and locked about the wrists and used on one or both arms of a prisoner in custody; a manacle. Often used in the plural.


I have epilepsy, he explained in a panic. It causes seizures. What happened was beyond my control.

Stones called his father and stepmother, who came to the scene and vouched for his medical condition. He was given a ticket. He would lose his license for 90 days.

If Stones had been living in ancient times, his epilepsy would have been considered a prophetic power, or a curse. In the Middle Ages, he would have been persecuted and tortured as a witch, or priests would have been summoned to exorcise him of his demons Demons
See also devil; evil; ghosts; hell; spirits and spiritualism.


one who denies the existence of the devil or demons.

bogyism, bogeyism

recognition of the existence of demons and goblins.

Even in 20th century United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , people like Stones could be sterilized ster·il·ize  
tr.v. ster·il·ized, ster·il·iz·ing, ster·il·iz·es
1. To make free from live bacteria or other microorganisms.

, banned from marrying or denied entry into restaurants, theaters and other public places.

And today, if Stones lived in other parts of the world, his seizures would be considered paranormal paranormal,
adj 1. outside the realm of normal experience or scientific explanation.
n 2. collective term for anomalous phenomena.

Unfortunately for Stones, epilepsy had become normal.

And after the accident, hed had enough.

Hopeless, despondent de·spon·dent  
Feeling or expressing despondency; dejected.

de·spondent·ly adv.
 and wracked with guilt over the accident, he reached for his wallet and pulled out a business card that had been given to him several months before for Dr. Samir Bangalore, neurologist, Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center.

He had no idea Bangalore was the only doctor in the state

who could provide what had eluded him his entire life: hope.

Stones mother, Kay Spencer, remembers his first seizure. The family was living in Mobile, Ala., and Stones was 6 months old. One night, as he slept between his parents, his body began convulsing. When she picked him up, his tiny body gripped her with spasms so powerful it felt like a man giving her a bear hug Bear Hug

An offer made by a company to buy the shares of another company that is too high for the board of the target firm to refuse.

If the target company says the merger is okay but they want a higher price, it is called a "teddy bear hug.

Stones wasnt diagnosed with epilepsy at the time but was put on anti-seizure drugs until he was 7, when doctors thought the seizures had stopped. Stones now believes he had more seizures, but they stopped short of convulsions Convulsions
Also termed seizures; a sudden violent contraction of a group of muscles.

Mentioned in: Heat Disorders
. He suffered from blurred vision and headaches, and would stare mindlessly into space, but those symptoms were not dramatic.

The epilepsy diagnosis came when he was 14. The family was making tacos when Stones thrust his hand into a hot skillet of ground beef, grabbed a handful and shoved it into his mouth. He had a faraway look in his eyes and his skin took on a gray pallor pallor /pal·lor/ (pal´er) paleness, as of the skin.

Paleness, as of the skin.
. When he came to his senses seconds later, he saw that his hands were blistered and taco meat was on the counter, but he didnt know what he had done.

His mom, dad and brother stared at him, dumbfounded dumb·found also dum·found  
tr.v. dumb·found·ed, dumb·found·ing, dumb·founds
To fill with astonishment and perplexity; confound. See Synonyms at surprise.

You had a seizure, his mom said.

At the time the family was living in Montana and a neurologist there diagnosed Stones with epilepsy. Stones feared what others would think. His mom says Stones allowed epilepsy to define him, and he carefully structured his life to keep the condition secret. He avoided parties because alcohol if only from a spiked drink would cause a seizure. He went to bed early, watched his diet, avoided certain frenetic movies that could trigger a seizure. He kept the secret.

As Stones matured he came to grips with letting people know about his epilepsy, and today, at 27, he says hes not ashamed of the condition.

But that doesnt remove the problems associated with the seizures.

No one knew about Stones epilepsy when he started dealing cards and roulette at the Suncoast in 2005. Over the years he estimates hes had dozens of seizures on the job. Often, he sensed them coming. He would feel numbness in his hands or blurred vision for a few seconds before they started and would pretend to stumble, timing a drop of the cards or roulette ball onto the ground with the strike of the seizure. That allowed him to go to the floor, out of sight, while his brain misfired, and resume the game seconds after it passed. His co-workers and pit bosses dismissed these rare incidents as mishaps.

In time, the seizures become too severe to hide staring into space, twitching his arms, cards flying onto the floor, drooling drooling

the discharge of saliva from the mouth. A normal feature in some breeds of dogs such as St. Bernard, Newfoundland and English bulldog, presumably because of their loose, pendulous lips.
, vomiting. They were especially common when he worked the swing shift, which made it difficult to sleep.

Once his condition was known, Stones said, Suncoast management, his co-workers and casino guests were exceptionally supportive. Company policy was not as accommodating: It dictated that he be carried off the floor in a wheelchair. The seizures were embarrassing and heightened his anxiety.

The car accident was the final straw. Something had to be done.

Seizures start with a spark of electrical activity in the brain that spreads out of control like an electrical storm electrical storm Cardiology A cardiac event defined as multiple recurrent episodes of ventricular fibrillation, or hemodynamically destabilizing ventricular tachycardia, with a very poor prognosis; ES is most common in older men with CAD, often in a background of . Why that happens isnt fully understood, but it may be related to an injury or genetics. Many seizures are barely noticeable to an observer. Whole-body convulsions grand mal seizures grand mal seizure
A sudden attack or convulsion characterized by generalized muscle spasms and loss of consciousness; it is recurrent in grand mal. Also called generalized tonic-clonic seizure.
  are the most extreme variety and are less common. Stones has had only four of those in his lifetime.

Seizures come in three stages. Warning signs last seconds and might include tingling tin·gle  
v. tin·gled, tin·gling, tin·gles

1. To have a prickling, stinging sensation, as from cold, a sharp slap, or excitement: tingled all over with joy.
, racing thoughts or blurred vision. The seizure itself could be nothing more than spacing out, an out-of-body feeling, or movement of the jaw and fluttering eyelids eyelids, a moveable fold of thin skin over the eye. The orbicularis oculi muscle and the oculomotor nerve control the opening and closing of the eyelid.
. The aftermath might include memory loss, feelings of shame, embarrassment or nausea.

A person is diagnosed with epilepsy when he has had at least two seizures not caused by a known medical factor. Epilepsy afflicts about 3 million Americans, but its often misdiagnosed. Sunrise has monitored about 400 people many of whom were on anti-seizure medicines for years and found that only 20 were epileptics.

Non-epileptic seizures can be caused by a psychological problem known as conversion disorder conversion disorder
 formerly hysteria

In psychology, a neurosis marked by extreme emotional excitability and disturbances of psychic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral functions.
, in which a person converts a particular stress to a physical manifestation such as, for one patient at Sunrise, the emotional response to a song from Phantom of the Opera.

In other cases, epileptic seizures can be a reflexive reaction to a particular external stimulation. Flashing lights and hyperventilation hyperventilation /hy·per·ven·ti·la·tion/ (-ven?ti-la´shun)
1. abnormally increased pulmonary ventilation, resulting in reduction of carbon dioxide tension, which, if prolonged, may lead to alkalosis.

 are the most common triggers, but in one instance, a patient had full-body convulsions caused by showering. In a case cited in medical books, a patients reflexive seizures were activated by the music of Jamaican-born rapper Sean Paul This article is about the Jamaican reggae artist. For the American rapper, see Sean P.

Sean Paul Henriques (born January 8 1973[][]) is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist.

Sunrise works to remove non-epileptics from medications that have harmful side effects Side effects

Effects of a proposed project on other parts of the firm.
 and refer them to psychiatric care.

Stones had suffered from epilepsy his entire life, but the September 2008 crash was the first time a seizure had caused a car accident. It came at a time when he was particularly struggling with epilepsy. His patience had run out with local doctors. His anti-seizure medications had stopped working. The seizures were striking with abandon during his shifts at the Suncoast. Usually the anxiety of wondering when and where they would strike was worse than the symptoms themselves.

Stones previous neurologist had moved away not that he missed him. Every appointment took five minutes. The doctor would test his eyes, his reflexes, have him walk in a line, and then write a new prescription.

What is the point of me coming here? Stones would wonder.

Two days after the crash, Stones stood in the parking lot of the Suncoast with his phone in his hand. Epilepsy ruled his life. It dictated his diet, social habits and sleep schedule. The medication made him fall asleep at work. He delayed dating because he didnt want to bring the stress of the condition into his love life.

The cumulative hopelessness and anxiety of epilepsy put him into such a depression that his mother said she worried he would kill himself.

His stepmother had given him Bangalores card months earlier. A friend had passed it along to her. Maybe he could help, she had said.

Tears in his eyes, he dialed Bangalores number.

The neurologist, Stones would learn, is the star of a new epilepsy program at the Nevada Neurosciences Institute The Neurosciences Institute is a nonprofit research institute that is focused upon "high risk - high payoff" research designed to discover the biological basis of higher-brain function in humans and other animals.  at Sunrise Hospital, which provides comprehensive care for epileptic epileptic /ep·i·lep·tic/ (ep?i-lep´tik)
1. pertaining to or affected with epilepsy.

2. a person affected with epilepsy.

One who has epilepsy.
 adults, including surgery to remove the parts of a patients brain that spark seizures.

Bangalore, who graduated from medical school in 2002, was involved in about two dozen such brain surgeries during his epilepsy fellowship. The surgery has been performed for decades elsewhere, but, true to the underdeveloped nature of health care in Nevada, wasnt available here until he came to Sunrise to start its program in 2007.

Bangalore wasnt like the clinical and hurried doctors Stones had seen previously. Bangalore is relaxed and easygoing eas·y·go·ing also eas·y-go·ing  
a. Living without undue worry or concern; calm.

b. Lax or negligent; careless.

, with an engaging bedside manner bed·side manner
The attitude and conduct of a physician in the presence of a patient.

bedside manner Medtalk A popular term for the degree of compassion, courtesy, and sympathy displayed by a physician towards Pts
, consistent with his personal life, in which he writes silly poems to his wife and lets loose at karaoke restaurants. He likes it when patients ask questions.

Bangalore also offered expertise that was new to Stones. Bangalore, an Indian who was born and raised in Chicago, was groomed to become a doctor. His mother was a librarian and his father was a researcher at the University of Chicago. After school, Bangalore was a lab rat, hanging out with his father at his research facility.

At the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, or IMSA, is a three-year residential public high school located in Aurora, Illinois, with an enrollment of approximately 640 students.   Bangalore jokes that the high school should be called the Ultimate Nerd Academy he competed on the math and debate teams. Ask him what sports he played and he mentions ping-pong.

But neurology requires more careful thought than the quick reactions required at a ping-pong table, and Bangalore is, if nothing else, patient. He and his wife spent 18 months renovating their new Las Vegas Las Vegas (läs vā`gəs), city (1990 pop. 258,295), seat of Clark co., S Nev.; inc. 1911. It is the largest city in Nevada and the center of one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States.  home before moving in.

After their first meeting, Bangalore believed Stones would be excellent candidate for surgery. Stones was maxed out on three anti-seizure medications, which sedated him and contributed to his depression, but did not stop the seizures.

Most epileptics can be seizure-free through the use of a single medication, Bangalore said. But about one in four epileptics will not be seizure free on any combination of drugs.

Before surgery could be considered, Bangalore needed to identify where the seizures are conceived in the brain and then ensure that a surgical option would not disable the patient.

For all the doctors Stones had seen, not one had mentioned that surgery could cure his epilepsy. Stones was on board. It didnt matter how much it cost, how long it took or how much it hurt. The new hope lightened the weight of his depression. His mother remembers the hope in his voice when he called her to tell her about the appointment: Mom, I met this doctor and I think he can help me!

His companys health insurance promised to cover the work, but Stones said he would pay it off in installments if it did not. If all went according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 plan, the process would culminate with what Stones described to his mother as cutting open his skull and scooping out the diseased part of his brain that caused the seizures.

For Bangalore, the first order of business was to observe and record Stones seizures in a clinical setting to precisely map the electrical activity. He had to ensure the misfires didnt stem from a portion of his brain that controlled other

important abilities, such as memory or speech.

Bangalore would have to induce the seizures.

At Sunrise, four rooms are dedicated to epilepsy surveillance, where patients are withdrawn from their medication, deprived of sleep and otherwise prompted to have seizures. A month after the car accident, Stones spent a week at Sunrise withdrawn from his medication, reading, watching TV, staving off boredom, waiting for seizures to strike.

When the seizures came five of them, eventually electrodes glued to the outside of his head captured the electrical activity in his brain and transmitted them to an electroencephalography electroencephalography (əlĕk'trōĕnsĕf'əlŏg`rafē), science of recording and analyzing the electrical activity of the brain.  (EEG EEG: see electroencephalography. ) machine. Their physical manifestations were captured on video.

Typical of Stones seizures was the one that struck at about 11 p.m. Oct. 13. The EEG stylus went from wavy lines to scribbles on the part of the page that represented the frontal and temporal lobes the area of his brain above and in front of his left ear.

At the same time Stones body was in similar disarray. At 6-foot-2 and about 240 pounds, he nearly fills the hospital bed, which has padded rails in case the seizures become violent. When the seizure strikes, he turns from the TV and looks around the room in confusion. His left wrist extends at arms length, and he appears to examine his left hand, perplexed. His head turns to the left, his shoulder flexes involuntarily and he vomits in his mouth. As the seizure concludes, Stones looks at both hands, bewildered, and resumes watching TV. The episode lasts about a minute.

Stones subsequent seizures at Sunrise included similar involuntary ticks. Sometimes his right arm extended; he clenched clench  
tr.v. clenched, clench·ing, clench·es
1. To close tightly: clench one's teeth; clenched my fists in anger.

, unclenched and shook his right fist; flapped his hands, blinked his eyes. Twice he vomited.

As unsettling un·set·tle  
v. un·set·tled, un·set·tling, un·set·tles
1. To displace from a settled condition; disrupt.

2. To make uneasy; disturb.

 as the seizures appear to an outsider, Stones doesnt recall a time he lived without them, so hes nonplused non·plus  
tr.v. non·plused also non·plussed, non·plus·ing also non·plus·sing, non·plus·es also non·plus·ses
To put at a loss as to what to think, say, or do; bewilder.

 about them. They dont cause pain, and the confusion of the events is mitigated by the fact that they are regular occurrences.

The EEG and the videos taken during the monitoring process showed that the seizures were sparked in the left temporal lobe the area around the temple involved in language and memory. The seizures are not severe in terms of symptoms, Bangalore said, but it severely affects his life. And theres evidence, he said, that they could become increasingly difficult to treat. Stones brain was abnormal even when he was not having seizures. Frequent electrical discharges made it especially difficult for the epilepsy to be controlled by medication.

Epilepsy can also be deadly. Some patients die in a little-understood manner reminiscent of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or crib death, sudden, unexpected, and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant under one year of age (usually between two weeks and eight months old).  called Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, or SUDEP is a term used when a person with epilepsy suddenly dies and the reason for the death is not known. The cause of SUDEP is unknown. Post mortem examination usually reveals no abnormalities in victims. . Others can get locked into a nonstop seizure that can be remedied in the hospital only with intravenous medicine.

Locating the epilepsys source was promising. Temporal lobe epilepsy temporal lobe epilepsy
See psychomotor epilepsy.
 is the most treatable by surgery because the problem area usually rests near the surface of the brain, making it easier for a surgeon to access.

Still, there is no guarantee that epilepsy surgery Approximately 60% of all patients with epilepsy (0.4% of the population of industrialized countries) suffer from focal epilepsy syndromes. In 15 to 20% of these patients, the condition is not adequately controlled with anticonvulsive drugs.  will work. And there could be the risk of brain damage.

On Dec. 2, after having returned to work, Stones is back at Sunrise, lying flat on an operating room operating room
n. Abbr. OR
A room equipped for performing surgical operations.

A catheter is laced through his right femoral artery femoral artery
1. An artery with origin at the continuation of the external iliac artery, with branches to the pudendal, epigastric, circumflex iliac arteries, the deep artery of the thigh, and the descending genicular artery, and
, starting at his groin, guided up through his midsection mid·sec·tion
A middle section, especially the midriff of the body.
 and into his brain. Doctors are going to shoot a drug through the catheter that will anesthetize a·nes·the·tize
To induce anesthesia in.

an·esthe·ti·zation n.
, one at a time, the left and right hemispheres of Stones brain. While the hemispheres are numbed, Bangalore will perform neurological tests to determine how his language and memory would be affected if he lost part of his left temporal lobe. Its called the Wada test Wada test Neurosurgery A test used to determine which side of the brain contains higher language functions. See Left brain. , named for Dr. Juhn Wada, the physician who first performed it.

Stones is right handed, so Bangalore said theres a 95 percent chance the left side of his temporal lobe is partially responsible for his ability to speak. The temporal lobe also contributes to a persons memory, but it was likely, and would be ideal, if both sides of his temporal lobe contributed to memory. That way if part of the left side were removed, the right side could compensate.

Bangalore has Stones raise his arms, hands outstretched out·stretch  
tr.v. out·stretched, out·stretch·ing, out·stretch·es
To stretch out; extend.

, to show when the drugs take effect on his brain. The anesthetic is injected into the right side of his brain and the left arm falls to the table. The EEG flat-lines on the section representing the right hemisphere. Half of his brain is effectively dead.

The test begins.

Where did you grow up? Bangalore asks Stones.

Albuquerque, Stones replies, naming his birthplace.

The question isnt important. What is vital is that Stones can understand it and speak with his right temporal lobe disabled. The ability to receive and produce language is apparently nestled in the still-awake left temporal lobe, as expected.

Bangalore pulls out a stack of flashcards and shows them to Stones: sunglasses, toothbrush, screwdriver and dice. Stones names them one at a time, successfully completing the language test.

Then Bangalore performs a memory test. With Stones right hemisphere still numb, the doctor shows him 10 objects a pair of dice, car, baby doll, stuffed ball, cell phone and other common items. Bangalore waits about 10 minutes for the anesthesia to wear off, allowing the right brain to wake up. Then the doctor shows him the same 10 objects, but throws in others that Stones had not seen.

Did you see the dice before?


Did you see this baby doll before?


Did you see this comb?


Stones passes the test.

As was expected, his abilities to remember things and to speak are not affected with the right brain disabled. That means they are housed in the temporal lobe region of the left brain where the epilepsy is rooted.

The catheter thats running through Stones body is backed up a bit and rerouted into a different artery that leads to the left hemisphere of his brain. The anesthetic is injected again, disabling the left brain, and the Wada test is repeated. Stones passes the memory portion. His memory function is indeed located on both sides of the temporal lobe.

With Stones left brain still disabled, Bangalore shows him objects and asks him to name them. Stones is unable to

form the words. His eyes indicate that he recognizes the objects, but he struggles to open his mouth. He cant make a sound.

It is confirmed that Stones ability to speak is rooted in the left hemisphere of his brain, where the seizures begin. Before the surgery can be performed, Bangalore will have to do more careful mapping of Stones brain to make sure his speech will not become disabled.

Two weeks after the Wada test, a Nevada Highway Patrol Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) is a division of the Nevada Department of Public Safety that is responsible for law enforcement across the entire state of Nevada. The headquarters is located in Carson City with regional commands in Reno, Elko and Las Vegas.  officer raps on Stones door. She wants to arrest him for a hit and run.

Stones doesnt know what she is talking about. His car is in the driveway, undamaged. He cant remember any accident.

But he has a sick feeling the patrolwoman pa·trol·wom·an  
A policewoman who patrols or polices an assigned area.
 is right. Stones had been given his license back and has been driving himself to work, cautiously and with much anxiety. The first accident had been a fluke, he assumed. Bangalore was monitoring his medications and the seizures were at bay.

But now his worst fear has come true.

The officer, incredulous that Stones claims he didnt remember, fills in the details.

Two days earlier Stones was driving north on Interstate 15. He was following a taxicab, when he suddenly revved his speed to about 80 mph, running into the cabs rear bumper. Videos taken by the cab showed Stones backing off, then revving his engine two more times, bumping the cab again and again before the taxi driver taxi driver ntaxista m/f

taxi driver taxi nchauffeur m de taxi

taxi driver taxi n
 pulled out of his way, allowing him to pass. No damage was done to either car, but Stones didnt slow down. He continued on his way as if nothing had happened.

Which is why the highway patrol highway patrol
A state law enforcement organization whose police officers patrol the public highways.
 officer is at his door.

Stones explains he is epileptic and begs for leniency le·ni·en·cy  
n. pl. le·ni·en·cies
1. The condition or quality of being lenient. See Synonyms at mercy.

2. A lenient act.

Noun 1.
. The officer settles for leaving a citation for following too closely, hit and run and failure to report an accident to police. Stones would have to answer in court.

Despondent, he swears not to drive again until his epilepsy can be cured. He calls Bangalore.

The drugs have worn off, Stones tells Bangalore. Weve got to make this happen faster.

You dont just watch a craniectomy cra·ni·ec·to·my
Surgical removal of a portion of the cranium.

craniectomy (krā·nē·ekˑ·t
. You smell it. Its July 14 and Stones is unconscious on an operating room table at Sunrise Hospital. Wisps of smoke rise from his head as incisions are cauterized to slow the bleeding.

Stones head is tilted to the right and the whine of a saw fills the room. Bone dust shoots into the air. Neurosurgeon neurosurgeon

a physician who specializes in neurosurgery.

neurosurgeon A surgeon specialized in managing diseases of the brain, spine and peripheral nerves Meat & potatoes diseases Brain tumors, spinal cord disease Salary $245K + 15% bonus.
 Stuart Kaplan is cutting free an oval of skull, the size of a large potato chip, above Stones left temple.

Kaplan removes the skull chip, exposing the brain. The cranial cranial /cra·ni·al/ (-al)
1. pertaining to the cranium.

2. toward the head end of the body; a synonym of superior in humans and other bipeds.

 arteries visibly pulsate pul·sate
To expand and contract rhythmically; beat.
 with each heartbeat beneath the dura mater, the brains fabric-like protective sheath.

Next, Bangalore supervises the placement of a panel of about 40 electrodes on the brain. Tucked into the hole in the skull, the electrodes are arranged in a grid on a soft rubber pad that covers the portion of the left temporal lobe that is the epicenter for Stones seizures.

The electrodes will allow Bangalore to precisely locate the seizure onset zone and language ability, by repeating the same tests he had performed about a year before in Sunrises monitoring room. That means Stones will be without the portion of his skull for a week.

A few days after the craniectomy, Stones is again taken off his medication and deprived of sleep to induce seizures. This time, the electrodes placed directly on the brain give the precise location of the its misfires. By July 20, the location of the genesis of the seizures is mapped. Now Bangalore needs to map the parts of the brain that contain anything related to language. Once he maps the location of both the seizures and language, he can overlay them and oversee the removal of any parts of the brain that cause seizures but do not affect language.

Stones says its odd missing part of his skull. When he coughs or sneezes, he says, it feels like his brain is going to fall out of his head.

Stones sits in a hospital bed, wires from the electrodes protruding pro·trude  
v. pro·trud·ed, pro·trud·ing, pro·trudes
To push or thrust outward.

To jut out; project. See Synonyms at bulge.
 from his bandaged head. Its time to map the language. A technician flips a switch that shoots a small dose of electricity to pairs of the electrodes in his brain, disabling for several seconds that part of the brain.

At the instant the brain is zapped, Bangalore shows him a picture of something he would easily recognize: a sailboat, a crocodile, a bear. Naming items is a complex task for the brain because it tests a persons ability to understand what he is looking at and to say it reception and expression. If Stones can still name the item in the picture, Bangalore knows it does not control language and can be removed. If zapping the problem area makes it impossible for Stones to speak, then the doctor knows that the portion of brain cant be removed.

Stones goes mute when eight of the electrode pairs are zapped. Those portions of his brain must remain.

The next day Stones is back in the Sunrise operating room for his final surgery. He is unconscious. The chip of Stones skull, which had been stored in deep freeze deep freeze

see freezer.
 by a company in California, is unpacked from dry ice and carried to the operating room table, where, at the end of the operation, it will be reattached with screws.

Bangalore is on hand to advise Kaplan, the neurosurgeon, throughout the procedure, and the doctors are surrounded by about a half dozen nurses and technicians.

Bangalores brain mapping Brain mapping is a set of neuroscience techniques predicated on the mapping of (biological) quantities or properties onto spatial representations of the (human or non-human) brain resulting in maps. All neuroimaging can be considered part of brain mapping.  had determined that the seizure onset zone is on the bottom of Stones left temporal lobe. The section that will be removed is about 4 centimeters by 3 centimeters by 3 centimeters about the size of a thumb located halfway between the edge of Stones left eye and the front side of his ear, at the level of the top of his ear.

The section that will be removed is about 2 centimeters below the part of his brain that controls his ability to process language.

Kaplan uses a scanning probe to map and visualize the brain on a monitor, and at times looks through a microscope as he inches instruments deep into the side of Stones head. He is careful to stay almost an inch away from the parts of his brain that control language. The brain feels like soft cheese, so the seizure onset zone is no match for Kaplans instruments. He uses a tubular surgical wand to nip it into bits and suck it Suck It is the first episode of the second season of Robot Chicken. List of skits
Renewal of Robot Chicken by [adult swim]
Seth Green thanks Adult Swim for the renewal of the new season of Robot Chicken.
 through a hose and into a biohazard bi·o·haz·ard
1. A biological agent, such as a virus or a condition that constitutes a threat to humans, especially in biological research or experimentation.

 waste container A waste container (known more commonly in British English as a dustbin, rubbish-bin, ashcan or simply bin and American English as a trash can) is a container, which is usually made out of metal or plastic.[1]. .

The procedure lasts about 45 minutes.

Today, the only sign that Stones has had brain surgery is a scar, mostly covered with hair, thats shaped like a large question mark on the left side of his head. They call him The Riddler at work, after the Batman villain who has question marks on his costume.

Hes had no more seizures. His insurance company has picked up the cost for all the tests, procedures and surgeries, which the hospital said will typically run between $25,000 and $45,000 depending on the patient. Studies show that upfront costs of epilepsy surgeries are offset by long-term savings. Stones monthly medications, for instance, cost about $1,500.

Stones is driving through Eastern Avenues stop-and-go traffic on his way to work. Its been six weeks since he was discharged from Sunrise and hes on his way to the Suncoast for an 11 a.m. shift.

Going through the operation has changed Stones outlook on life, he says as he merges onto the Las Vegas Beltway and accelerates to 60 mph. He never complained in the hospital because he didnt want to worry his loved ones loved ones nplseres mpl queridos

loved ones nplproches mpl et amis chers

loved ones love npl
. But now he says the pain he felt during the 12-hours immediately after the portion of his skull was removed, and again when it was replaced, was the most intense hes ever felt.

But the process resulted in a freedom hes never before experienced. How can he worry about a bad day at work when Bangalore and the staff at Sunrise saved his life?

I was always worried that I was going to hit a car or hit a tree or something else, Stones said.

Its too soon to declare Stones cured of epilepsy. Bangalore cautiously describes the seizures as in remission, but believes the surgery was successful. He said hell keep Stones on medication for up to a year because withdrawing it too quickly has risks. Once the medications sedating and mood-altering side effects are gone, its possible that Stones personality may blossom, he said.

Stones says the operation worked. Hes been seizure free and his friends tell him hes different: more alert, talkative and engaged. His eyes and shoulders appear more relaxed hes no longer bracing for a seizure to strike. His supervisors at work have said hes quicker at his job. Plus, hes had many experiences that would have previously induced seizures. He didnt get a good night of sleep after his first night back at work. The next day he came home from work and forgot to take his seizure medication before falling asleep on the couch On the Couch is an Australian television program formally broadcast on the Fox Footy Channel and it focuses on the current issues in the AFL. This is now broadcast on Fox Sports after the closure of Fox Footy Channel.

The show airs on Monday night and is hosted by Gerard Healy.

Before the operation, he certainly would have had seizures if he forgot to take his medication. In the past he would have preempted the problem by calling in sick to work. Not anymore.

I just laughed about it, got ready for work and left.

Chris Stones is no longer defined by epilepsy.

Marshall Allen Marshall Belford Allen (born in Louisville, Kentucky, May 25, 1924) is a free jazz and avant-garde jazz alto saxophone player. He also performs on flute, oboe, piccolo, and EVI (an electronic valve instrument made by the Akai company).  can be reached at 259-2330 or at
Copyright 2009 Las Vegas Sun
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright (c) Mochila, Inc.

 Reader Opinion




Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Marshall Allen
Publication:Las Vegas Sun
Date:Oct 4, 2009
Previous Article:Is Reid really moderate on health care, or keeping powder dry for final fight?
Next Article:What cuts in Medicare would mean for seniors

Related Articles
Seizures and Epilepsy in Childhood.
Epileptic seizures may be predictable.
Potential block for epilepsy: researchers find new drug target.
A case of pseudoseizures.
Mapping the brain thanks to new diagnostic technology, Marvin Girard no longer suffers from life-threatening seizures.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters