Area’s first Epilepsy Monitoring Unit opens at Sparrow

Works with MSU to video patients and symptoms 24 hours a day

Published: July 26, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Sparrow, in cooperation with the Michigan State University Health Team's Department of Neurology, has opened a state-of-the-art unit to monitor epileptic patients around the clock through video and brain monitoring.

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is the only one of its kind in a large area of Michigan, from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids. It will allow caregivers to observe patients who are not responding to medication and better pinpoint the cause and type of their epilepsy.

Through video observation over several days, and by monitoring brain waves, physicians can pinpoint areas of the brain where seizures start. That will allow physicians to adjust patient medication or seek surgical solutions.

"The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is going to become very handy, knowing that one out of 100 people have epilepsy and one-third of those people are not cured by any single medicine," said Mounzer Kassab, M.D., a Sparrow neurologist with a specialty in epilepsy and an associate professor in the MSU Department of Neurology.

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is very important for mid-Michigan because it will better enable patients to receive local care instead of being forced to drive long distances for epilepsy treatment, said Charles Bill, M.D., a neurosurgeon with Lansing Neurosurgery, a partner in the project.

"You're looking at quality of life," Dr. Bill says. "Epilepsy is a significant problem."

Lisa Coulter, lead technician of Sparrow's Neurosciences unit, notes that epileptic seizures can come in many forms, from loss of consciousness to a thumb twitch, making it crucial to be able to monitor patients' symptoms over a period of time.