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Seizures

Your neurons register familiar faces, whether you notice them or not

When people see an image of a person they recognize—the famous tennis player Roger Federer or actress Halle Berry, for instance—particular cells light up in the brain. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on September 21 have found that those cells light up even when a person sees a familiar face or object but fails to notice it. The only difference in that case is that the neural activity is weaker and delayed in comparison to what happens when an observer consciously registers and can recall having seen a particular image.

Heat a trigger for seizures

Fever is the most common trigger for seizures in children between 5 months and 6 years of age. But the underlying cause is not always clear. Now in a study published in the journal Epilepsy Research, Jing-Qiong (Katty) Kang, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues show in a genetically altered mouse model that elevated body temperature alone can increase vulnerability to febrile seizures even in the absence of infection or inflammation.

Epilepsy drugs pose risks to developing brains, study suggests

Some drugs used to treat epilepsy harm children who are exposed to them in the womb or through breast milk, a new analysis of the literature suggests1. The drug valproate is particularly risky, boosting the likelihood of autism and other developmental problems up to 17-fold. The study is the first to compare the relative risks of taking various epilepsy drugs during pregnancy. Some of these medications are also used to treat bipolar disorder and migraines.

When do I tell my children I have epilepsy?

you know what a grand mal seizure is? I found out when I was eight years old. I also found out how it felt after having one…a mouth being full of swollen tongue, the taste of blood, and the feeling of being underwater with a throbbing headache. As with most epileptics, doctors have no idea why I have it or what caused it. Mine is not genetic; it may have resulted from one of the many times I thwacked my head as a kid. I liked to hang upside-down on the monkey bars a lot. No surprise that my stampeding hippo brand of grace emerged early, and that I frequently fell from exactly that upside-down position.

Epilepsy and Seizures in Older Adults

Did you know that seizures are more likely to develop in older adults? Learn to recognize the signs of seizures and how you can help. Epilepsy is a broad term used for a brain disorder that causes seizures. In the United States, 2.4 million adults aged 18 years or older have active epilepsy.1,2 About 1% of adults 65 years of age and older have active epilepsy, which is about 447,000 people.1,2 That’s about the size of Corpus Christi, TX. With the aging of the population, we can expect to see greater numbers of people with epilepsy. Epilepsy is more likely to develop in older adults rather than younger adults because as people age, the risk of seizures and epilepsy rises.3,4 Some older adults may have lived with epilepsy throughout their lives, but others might develop epilepsy later in lif...

Estrogen-mediated brain protection directly linked to intake of of fatty acids found in oils

Scientists are increasingly appreciating estrogen’s role in brain health. Now for the first time, production of estrogen in the brain has been directly linked to the presence of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is found in abundance in fish oils and is also synthesized from alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in some vegetable-based oils.

National and State Estimates of the Numbers of Adults and Children with Active Epilepsy — United States, 2015

Epilepsy, a brain disorder leading to recurring seizures, has garnered increased public health focus because persons with epilepsy experience pronounced and persistent health and socioeconomic disparities despite treatment advances, public awareness programs, and expanded rights for persons with disabilities (1,2). For almost all states, epilepsy prevalence estimates do not exist. CDC used national data sources including the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for adults (aged ≥18 years), the 2011–2012 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), and the 2015 Current Population Survey data, describing 2014 income levels, to estimate prevalent cases of active epilepsy, overall and by state, to provide information for state public health planning. In 2015, 1.2% of the U.S. populatio...

Childhood Absence Epilepsy: 5 Things You Need to Know

Childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), a syndrome that occurs in 1 out of 1000 children, is one of the most common types of early childhood (first decade) seizures. A classic CAE scenario may be that of a little girl who has just started kindergarten and has periods of “blanking out” every day. Her teacher calls out her name, but she does not respond. She sometimes blinks her eyes a few times and is back to “normal” in about 20 seconds. The teacher alerts the parents, who then make an appointment to see the pediatrician. Typically, the parents report never noticing these episodes at home.

It was all yellow: did digitalis affect the way Van Gogh saw the world?

Extracted from foxgloves, digitalis was once used as a treatment for epilepsy. Could a side effect have triggered the artist’s “yellow period”? It was recently the 127th anniversary of the tragic death of Vincent van Gogh. His short life came to an untimely end two days after he shot himself in the chest; he had experienced mental health issues through much of his life. In the absence of a definitive diagnosis, speculation as to the true nature of his illness fills volumes.

What Is Cortical Dysplasia?

Focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) is a congenital abnormality of brain development where the neurons in an area of the brain failed to migrate in the proper formation in utero. Focal cortical dysplasia is a common cause of intractable epilepsy in children and is a frequent cause of epilepsy in adults.

Genetic Testing Can Help Pinpoint Epilepsy Earlier

A new study supports routine genetic testing for epilepsy in young children with seizures. “Precision medicine means nothing without precision diagnosis, and we can now provide precision diagnosis,” said study lead author Anne Berg, of the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Pairnomix, StemoniX Develop Epilepsy Model in Search for New Anti-seizure Drugs

Pairnomix has joined efforts with StemoniX to develop a lab-based model of epileptic seizures using so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The model, which researchers refer to as a “seizure-in-a-dish” model system, will allow scientists to study seizures at a network level. In this way, they can use the model to screen for anti-epileptic drugs in a fast and easy manner. Minneapolis-based Pairnomix has expertise in epilepsy models, while San Diego-based StemoniX has developed the microBrain Platform. The model mirrors tissue architecture in the brain, with nerve cells connecting to each other through synapses, forming functional networks. For brain diseases such as epilepsy, iPSCs are invaluable research tools. These cells can be derived from skin tissue, and are forced to backt...

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