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In the grip of a drugs crisis – Including Epilepsy Medications

Thousands of people are addicted to a range of drugs originally licensed to treat epilepsy and nerve pain, a Devon doctor warns. Drugs such as gabapentin and pregablin are being prescribed for conditions ranging from anxiety to all sorts of chronic pain, Richard Byng, professor in primary care research at Plymouth University and a General Practitioner (GP) in the city, said.   He is calling for pharmacists, doctors and patients’ groups to work together to reduce the number of prescriptions issued.

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.

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...

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.

This Is What It’s Really Like to Have Epilepsy

Epilepsy nearly took Emily Borghard’s life before she was diagnosed—she’s not only learned to live with the condition, but thrive as well. For Emily Borghard, 28, life growing up on a farm in upstate New York was filled with carefree activities in her close-knit community. Volunteer work with local soccer programs took up much of her time, and when her first seizure hit, she was a senior in high school applying for college admission miles away from home. Epilepsy causes seizures as a result of unusual electrical activity in the brain, usually due to brain injury though often it has no identifiable cause. “My first seizure occurred during a car accident. I was going home after a sleepover with my friends and I drove right off the road into a creek. I live in such a small town th...

Epilepsy Therapies Can Worsen Some Mitochondrial Disorders, Experts Warn

Epilepsy is a common manifestation of mitochondrial disorders for about half of the people with the energy-production malfunction. In most cases, doctors can use epilepsy therapies to treat epilepsy stemming from mitochondrial problems. But the treatments can worsen mitochondrial disorders that are caused by POLG1 gene mutations, according to a review in Epilepsy Research.

Ultra-Marathon Cyclist Who Is Epileptic Breaks Two World Indoor Distance Records

An ultra-marathon cyclist with epilepsy has broken world indoor-track records for the longest distances covered in six and eight hours. Katie Ford dedicated the records she broke on July 2 at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena to raising epilepsy awareness.

Opinion: It’s time to bring epilepsy awareness out of the dark ages

It is one of the most common brain ailments, affecting over 65 million people globally, and yet it remains shrouded in stigma and ignorance. Epilepsy: a disease that is as old as civilization itself. According to Epilepsy Canada, tablets regarding medical records from Babylonia dating to 2000 BC accurately describe the different types of epileptic seizures. In Canada, it is estimated that around 139,200 people have epilepsy. The good news is that according to a Statistics Canada survey, 39 per cent of those living independently with epilepsy say it does not affect their life at all. An estimated 44 per cent suggest that epilepsy has little or only a moderate effect on their lives. However, 18 per cent say that epilepsy has affected them quite a bit. The bad news is that in the same survey,...

First ‘Bachelorette’ Trista Sutter still doesn’t know what caused scary seizure

The first “Bachelorette” Trista Sutter continues to live with unanswered questions about her health, after suffering some kind of seizure while vacationing with her family in Croatia last month. The 44-year-old mother of two opened up about her heath scare in an interview Tuesday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” With her husband Ryan Sutter by her side, she said she had no symptoms of illness before the seizure. She said she has enjoyed a healthy and active lifestyle. Her only health problems, if you can call them that, have been the occasional headache.

Dr. Joseph Sirven: Two Sides Of Hope

My patient’s mom drops a 500-page collection of internet pages that she had printed in front of me. It’s meticulously researched and indexed about her daughter’s rare epilepsy condition. “Dr. Sirven, this is light reading for your lunches this week and maybe dinners too,” she said. “I hope your wife doesn’t mind.”

Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood: A Physicians’ Guide for Diagnosis

Alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC) is a rare genetic disorder that involves both paroxysmal and chronic neurological symptoms, and its name comes from the recurrent attacks of hemiplegia. Attacks have been known to affect either side in the same patient at different times, or even during the same attack (“alternating”). Beyond that, AHC patients can have paroxysmal attacks involving a wide variety of other abnormalities of movement, including dystonia, quadriplegia, nystagmus, and gaze palsy, and  autonomic symptoms. The paroxysmal symptoms resolve with sleep, but may recur after the child awakens.

Epilepsy and natural treatments: Can they help?

Epilepsy is a disease that disrupts the electrical activity of the nervous system, causing seizures. More than 65 million people in the world have epilepsy. 1 in 26 Americans will develop the disease during their lives. Children are the group most frequently diagnosed with new cases of epilepsy. In the United States, 300,000 children under 14 are affected by the condition. Some may outgrow the disorder, but most will not. The number of senior citizens with epilepsy is also 300,000. People with epilepsy have a range of treatment options, including alternative therapies. The illness is a complex condition, however, and all alternative treatment options must be looked at carefully, to ensure they are effective. Causes of epilepsy Epilepsy is a complex disease that can disrupt the electrical a...

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