CHLA uses special playroom to help treat young epilepsy patients

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Anyone can develop epilepsy. Tracking the location, frequency and intensity of these seizures are key to finding a successful treatment. Children's Hospital Los Angeles figured out a great way to get it done. They're letting their patients play.

With his ninja-style head wrap and superhero jetpack, 3-year-old Adrian Stockbauer of Ridgecrest, California, is at CHLA to complete a special mission. Eyes everywhere watch his every move.

"Our technologist who works down the hall in a control room can monitor his brain waves and videotape as soon as he walks into the room live," sabd the head of CHLA's Epilepsy Center, Dr. Deborah Holder.

In this playroom, undercover, sophisticated scientific study is taking place.

Adrian has epilepsy. Dozens of electrodes secretly transmit data for doctors to decipher. His mom, Iris Stockbauer, said often it's hard to tell when he's having a seizure.

"Every five seconds it seems," she said, "Like it doesn't stop, I guess."

About a year ago, Adrian started falling a lot.

"All we can see is that he was losing balance," his mom said. "Very clumsy for a 2-year-old who was walking and running fine. "

"Adrian is a little kiddo with a lot of seizures and he's here today so we can monitor how frequent his seizures are so we can make adjustments in his medications so we can provide better seizure control," Holder said.

To figure out the best treatment, an epilepsy study like this could require up to two weeks of 24/7 monitoring. Before this, kids were stuck in their room plugged into a wall.

"You're limited to a little space in the room and a 3-year-old does not do well with a confined environment," Stockbauer said.

CHLA is the first in Southern California to offer its young epilepsy patients freedom in this completely wired playroom.

Holder said, "Being able to do their normal activities and being able to recreate their normal activities may help them have the seizure activity that they would normally experience at home."

Getting out of the room for a little bit definitely helps families out.

"And that gives the parents a little break," Holder said.

With this monitoring, doctors can pinpoint where the seizure originates in the brain. The goal is to give Adrian a personalized treatment plan that'll get his seizures under control.
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