San Jose Mercury News: Laser Surgery Shows Promise in Halting Seizures in Epilepsy Sufferers

Posted Aug. 20, 2014 by the San Jose Mercury News.

By Joyce Tsai

PLEASANTON — Justin Wan is not one to radiate unfettered optimism or make bold statements about his future.

More than 10 years of battling epilepsy will do that to a person who never knows when the next seizure will strike. Wan can’t drive, swim alone or live by himself. Crossing streets, taking a bath, riding a bike and new environments in general can pose unforeseen perils and pitfalls.

This time last year, Wan, 20, often couldn’t make it more than week without an epileptic attack and his senses were dulled by heavy doses of anti-seizure medications. But today, the only outward sign that he suffered from debilitating seizures is a small staple scar on the top of his head, hidden by a headful of thick black hair — where surgeons in December inserted a tiny laser that zapped out a lesion in his brain. He hasn’t had a seizure since.

“It was on this side somewhere,” the San Jose State junior said, feeling around with his fingers on his cranium’s right side.

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