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Addressing Psychiatric Comorbidities in Pediatric Epilepsy

Children with a chronic physical illness have a substantially elevated prevalence of psychiatric illness. The odds of having a mental health disorder were 62% higher among children with vs without a chronic physical condition, even after adjusting for sociodemographic variables and access to health care, according to results from a study published in 2016.1 The risk for psychopathology is even gre...

Folate May Limit Language Delays in Kids of Epileptic Women

Not using folic acid before and during pregnancy increased risks substantially. Supplemental folic acid before pregnancy and during the first trimester may limit language development problems in children exposed to anti-epileptic drugs in utero. Note that the study suggests that beginning supplemental folic acid prior to pregnancy and continuing it through at least the first trimester does have su...

Cognition and Dementia in Older Patients With Epilepsy

With advances in healthcare and an ageing population, the number of older adults with epilepsy is set to rise substantially across the world. In developed countries the highest incidence of epilepsy is already in people over 65 and, as life expectancy increases, individuals who developed epilepsy at a young age are also living longer. Recent findings show that older persons with epilepsy are more ...

Rewiring the brain to fight epilepsy

Biologist Suzanne Paradis’ lab suppressed seizures in mice by changing the connections between neurons. Researchers in the lab of Associate Professor of Biology Suzanne Paradis have discovered a novel treatment for reducing seizure activity in the brains of rodents, a discovery they hope might one day help people living with epilepsy. An estimated 2.2 million Americans suffer from epilepsy a...

Can scientists leverage mysterious mossy cells for brain disease treatments?

A small population of brain cells deep in a memory-making region of the brain controls the production of new neurons and may have a role in common brain disorders, according to a study from scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. The scientists, who published their work in Neuron, showed that “mossy cells” in the hippocampus regulate local stem cells to contr...

Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy: What We Know

Earlier this year, the Virginia State Legislature voted to expand the medical cannabis oil program in the Commonwealth. I have patients ask me about medical marijuana during every clinic visit. Here are a few talking points that will help guide the discussion with your patients. Patients usually start the conversation by saying, “I read on my cousin’s Facebook wall that smoking marijua...

Long-Term Cannabis Use May Lead To Serious Memory Impairments

LANCASTER, United Kingdom — Cannabis-based products are being touted for their potential therapeutic uses on conditions from epilepsy to anxiety, but even as marijuana legalization continues to widen, scientists are still raising red flags. A new study finds that long-term use of cannabis or cannabis-based drugs can disturb areas of the brain that control memory, causing “significant impairments.”...

Public faith in marijuana outpaces medical research, study finds

Despite limited evidence, Americans have an increasingly positive view of the health benefits of marijuana. Nearly two-thirds believe pot can reduce pain, while close to half say it improves symptoms of anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, according to a new online survey of 9,003 adults. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the 30 states, along with the District of Columbia, Gu...

Music & Epilepsy

How does music affect persons with epilepsy? In some cases it can alleviate symptoms, whereas in others it can make matters worse. Music and epilepsy Epilepsy that’s triggered by musical stimulation is known as musicogenic epilepsy. This form of epilepsy was first noted by British Neurologist Macdonald Critchely in 1937. Musicogenic epilepsy can be described as a form of reflex epilepsy (epilepsy ...

Rare and Unusual Syndromes That May Appear In Epilepsy

Anxiety disorder and depression are widely known but there are many rare psychiatric illnesses although seldom seen. It is important that physicians remain aware of them to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment for patients. These rare psychiatric syndromes range from reactions to overwhelming situations, delusions as a result of traumatic brain injury, and specific manifestations due to the prese...

Hmmm . . . Iranian scientists claim to develop cure for epilepsy

TEHRAN — A team of Iranian scientists has claimed to produce an effective cure for epilepsy using three medicinal herbs, ISNA reported on Friday. “Medications used to treat epilepsy such as phenobarbital have side effects and should be taken regularly for life,” the project manager Reza Mazloum Farsibaf, has said. Common side effects of phenobarbital include dizziness, drowsiness, problems with me...

Cardiac Pathology in SUDEP Compared With Sudden Arrhythmic or Traumatic Deaths

There does not appear to be a higher prevalence of cardiac fibrosis among patients with sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) compared with patients with autopsy-defined sudden arrhythmic death (SAD) or traumatic death, according to a study published in Neurology. Using data from the Postmortem Systematic Investigation of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) study, researchers identified 541 sudden ca...