If many epilepsy sufferers remain refractory to current therapies, it isn't for a lack of research and development effort. Presentations at the recent annual meeting of the professional American Epilepsy Society (AES) in San Diego described a spate of novel medications, advances in imaging technology, new surgery techniques, and the promising early results of a clinical trial using xenotransplantation. But the question remains: Will research finally dispel the stubborn mysteries of epilepsy that, so far, have confounded efforts to successfully treat many patients?

According to literature of the nonprofit Epilepsy Foundation of America (EFA), about 2.5 million people in the United States suffer from some form of epilepsy, making it the second most common neurological disorder, after stroke. In 70 percent of all cases, the cause is unknown. About 15 percent of epilepsy patients receive no relief from current therapies, and about one-third cannot obtain adequate control of their epilepsy...

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