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Circadian and circaseptan rhythms in human epilepsy

Results of a recent study suggest that seizure cycles are robust, patient specific, and more widespread than previously understood. They align with the accepted consensus that most epilepsies have some diurnal influence. Variations in seizure rate have important clinical implications. Detection and tracking of seizure cycles on a patient-specific basis should be standard in epilepsy management practices. Epilepsy has long been suspected to be governed by cyclic rhythms, with seizure rates rising and falling periodically over weeks, months, or even years. The very long scales of seizure patterns seem to defy natural explanation and have sometimes been attributed to hormonal cycles or environmental factors. The study aimed to quantify the strength and prevalence of seizure cycles at multiple...

People with epilepsy may gain from sleep apnea treatment

It’s been used by many people to help ease sleep apnea, but new research suggests the CPAP mask may also help ease seizures in people with epilepsy.   CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) involves wearing an airflow mask over the nose or mouth each night, to help keep the back of the throat open for better breathing.

Recovery from TBI appears to go hand-in-hand with improvement of sleep problems

After a traumatic brain injury (TBI), people also experience major sleep problems, including changes in their sleep-wake cycle. A new study shows that recovering from these two conditions occurs in parallel. The study is published in the December 21, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Genetics plays significant role in sleep/wake timing of seizures

New research from the Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project shows that genetics plays a role in sleep/wake timing of seizures. Researchers studied 1,395 individuals with epilepsy in families containing multiple people with epilepsy to determine whether sleep/wake timing of seizures runs in families.

Sleep Apnea and Heavy Snoring Linked to Cognitive Decline

Heavy snoring and sleep apnea may be linked to memory and thinking decline at an earlier age, according to a new study published in the April 15, 2015, online issue ofNeurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The research also suggests that treating the disorders with a breathing machine may delay the decline. “Abnormal breathing patterns during sleep such as heavy snoring and sleep apnea are common in the elderly, affecting about 52 percent of men and 26 percent of women,” said study author Ricardo Osorio, MD, with the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. For the study, the medical histories for 2,470 people ages 55 to 90 were reviewed. Participants were categorized as either free of memory and thinking problems, in early stages of mild cognitive...

SUDEP: Sleeping Position Linked to Risk of SUDEP

Sleeping on your stomach may heighten your risk of sudden death if you have epilepsy, new research suggests. Sudden, unexpected death in epilepsy occurs when an otherwise healthy person dies and “the autopsy shows no clear structural or toxicological cause of death,” said Dr. Daniel Friedman, assistant professor of neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. This is a rare occurrence, and the study doesn’t establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between sleeping position and sudden death. Still, based on the findings, people with epilepsy should not sleep in a prone (chest down) position, said study leader Dr. James Tao, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Chicago. “We found that prone sleeping is a significant risk for su...

Researchers examine link between sleep difficulties and brain volume

Sleep difficulties may be linked to faster rates of decline in brain volume, according to a study published in the September 3, 2014, online issue of Neurology-, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Sleep has been proposed to be “the brain’s housekeeper”, serving to repair and restore the brain. The study included 147 adults 20 and 84 years old. Researchers examined the link between sleep difficulties, such as having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, and brain volume. All participants underwent two MRI brain scans, an average of 3.5 years apart, before completing a questionnaire about their sleep habits. A total of 35 percent of the participants met the criteria for poor sleep quality, scoring an average of 8.5 out of 21 points on the...

Study sheds new light on sleep drunkenness disorder

A study is shining new light on a sleep disorder called “sleep drunkenness”. The disorder may be as prevalent as affecting one in every seven people. The research is published in the August 26, 2014, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Sleep drunkenness disorder involves confusion or inappropriate behavior, such as answering the phone instead of turning off the alarm, during or following arousals from sleep, either during the first part of the night or in the morning. An episode, often triggered by a forced awakening, may even cause violent behavior during sleep or amnesia of the episode. “These episodes of waking up confused have received considerably less attention than sleepwalking even though the consequences can be jus...

How epilepsy may harm children’s learning

Children with epilepsy sleep badly and as a result often are sleepy during the day. Unremarkably perhaps, they also tend to do badly at school. The two undoubtedly are related, however the link may be more complex than previously thought. According to the UK Charity ‘Young Epilepsy’ more than one in five people with epilepsy have learning or intellectual difficulties. Poor academic results are common in children with epilepsy. Evidence suggests that up to half of all children with epilepsy underachieve at school. Two years ago, Dr Charline Urbain from the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, published a small but important study of four children with epilepsy. Dr Urbain is part of a team working in the University’s Neuropsychology and Functional Neuroimaging Research Uni...