Pubdate: Mon, 11 May 2015
Source: Western Star, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2015 The Western Star
Author: Liam Casey
Page: 6


Gwenevere Repetski turns three next month and she is finally able to 
crawl, a milestone her parents thought they would never see.

She was just an infant when she was diagnosed with epilepsy, a 
debilitating neurological disorder that has left her developmentally delayed.

"She was kind of like a bag of Jell-O," says her mother, Reagan Repetski.

When she was two years old, she could hardly roll over when she was 
placed on her back, adds her father, Alex.

Sitting in the living room of their Thornhill, Ont., home, the 
Repetskis recall their stressful and emotional journey in search of a 
treatment for Gwen.

The first drug she was prescribed - Sabril - only managed to control 
her seizures for about a month. The next one was a steroid called 
ACTH, which her parents say caused her to gain half her body weight 
in three weeks.

Disappointed at the lack of treatment options, Alex reduced his work 
hours and dove down the research rabbit hole. That's when he first 
read articles online about the success some people said they were 
having in reducing epileptic seizures with cannabidiol, one of 
several active cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, doesn't cause a high and, when mixed with an 
oil, has been widely touted as a potential therapy for hard-to-treat 
forms of epilepsy. But many doctors say there's little medical 
evidence yet to show if the compound is effective or even safe.

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a researcher at New York University's Langone 
Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, has done a safety study on the use of 
an extract of cannabidiol.

Devinsky looked at the daily seizure logs of 137 patients, most of 
them children, who took a drug called Epidiolex- a purified form of 
CBD - for three months.

The number of seizures decreased by an average of 54 per cent from 
the beginning of the study to the end, Devinsky reported last month 
at an American Academy of Neurology conference.

"These results are of great interest, especially for the children and 
their parents who have been searching for an answer for these 
debilitating seizures," Devinsky said at the conference.

However, he cautioned that there's no way to tell how much of the 
seizure reduction was due to the placebo effect in which the person's 
condition improves because they expect the drug to work.

Similar research by Dr. Kevin Chapman of the University of Colorado 
recently raised similar questions. Chapman checked records of 58 
young patients who used various types of CBD oils and found less than 
a third reported a significant seizure drop.
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