Older Patients With Epilepsy Should Be Monitored for Hyponatremia, Study Finds

Older Patients With Epilepsy Should Be Monitored for Hyponatremia, Study Finds

As a large population of patients with epilepsy ages, risk of hyponatremia has become an important clinical concern, in which monitoring of serum sodium levels when receiving antiseizure medications or antipsychotics (ASMs) may help identify and minimize the risk of hyponatremia in patients with epilepsy.

“Although hyponatremia is a frequent problem associated with epilepsy, to our knowledge, the number of cases and annual incidence rates have not been previously reported,” wrote the researchers of the study. “In our cohort, during the 15-year study period, the overall incidence remained unchanged in pediatric and adult patients but increased significantly in older adult patients.”

The retrospective cohort study is published in Heliyon Open Access.

The study enrolled a total of 26,179 patients with serum sodium levels measured between January 2006 and December 2020, and included 14,620 patients who were enrolled in a previous study between January 2006 to December 2017.

The researchers obtained patient information, including age, sex, body weight, clinical symptoms, concomitant ASM treatment, ASM dose and concentration, and other laboratory information. Furthermore, serum sodium level was measured multiple times in most patients and used the lowest sodium level for patients with a changed ASM regimen during the study period. Moderate to severe hyponatremia was defined as serum sodium levels less than 130 mEq/L.

Patients were grouped by age: 0 to 15 years (n = 8598), 16 to 64 years (n = 16,476), and 65 years and older (n = 1105), in which the researchers measured potential risk factors, the incidence rate between patients with and without hyponatremia, factors with a significant influence on developing hyponatremia, and performed a logistic regression analysis and multiple logistic regression analysis to calculate the crude odds ratio and adjusted odds ratios.

The analysis revealed that between 2006 to 2020, 677 (2.6%) patients developed moderate to severe hyponatremia, with an incidence of 3.1 per 1000 person-years (95% CI, 2.2-3.9) in the pediatric group, 19.8 per 1000 person-years (95% CI, 18.7-20.9) in the adult group, and 50.4 per 1000 person-years (95% CI, 43.3-57.5) in the older adult group.

Additionally, the incidence of hyponatremia increased from 36.8 in 2007 to 58.5 in 2020 in the older adult group. However, the incidence rate remained unchanged in the adult group and tended to decrease in the pediatric group.

Furthermore, the use of carbamazepine, valproate, phenytoin, phenobarbital, benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics were found to be significant risk factors for hyponatremia, with carbamazepine, benzodiazepine, and antipsychotics found to induce hyponatremia in adult patients in a dose-dependent manner. Lastly, the researchers found that concomitant use of zonisamide reduced the risk of hyponatremia.

However, the researchers acknowledged some limitations to the study. First, it was retrospective in design and could not evaluate factors such as dietary habits, water consumption, hypothyroidism, hypopituitarism, diarrhea, and vomiting. Additionally, it did not examine the effect of other medications that may be associated with hyponatremia, including oxcarbazepine, eslicarbazepine, tricyclic antidepressants, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Despite these limitations, the researchers believe the study demonstrates the effect of ASM polypharmacy was associated with an increased risk of moderate-to-severe hyponatremia and suggests how this risk can be reduced based on these findings.

“Because the population of patients with epilepsy is currently aging, hyponatremia will become an increasingly important concern in clinical settings,” wrote the researchers. “Our findings can contribute to minimizing the risk of hyponatremia in epilepsy patients.”


Source: ajmc.com, Pearl Steinzor

Ricardo Quevedo admitted that after feeling unwell he was diagnosed with epilepsy

Ricardo Quevedo admitted that after feeling unwell he was diagnosed with epilepsy

Ricardo Quevedo He is a comedian and film actor who has participated in various productions such as “Comedians of the Night”, “You don’t know who I am?”, “Hell has gone to us” and others.

Although in recent months Quevedo has been focusing on various theatrical projects and has also been part of the “Los de la culpa” team along with personalities such as Ivan Marin, Santiago Rendon and others. However, He recently participated in Alejandro Riagno’s Juanpis Show, revealing various details of his life.

Ricardo Quevedo admits he suffers from epilepsy

As expected, the meeting with “Juanpis” was filled with laughter, because it turned out to be one of his best works, the entertainment of the public. In the middle of the conversation, Quevedo admitted that several years ago he was diagnosed with this disease and one of the episodes that most The injuries it had inflicted on his shoulders appeared in his mind, so he was treated to be able to continue his various tasks and share them with his family.

However, his statements did not end there, as the humorist assured that he had experienced a severe emotional crisis about 3 years ago.At that time, he was also invited to the Juanpis Live Show. “When he invited me, I said yes, but I had a very difficult moment. I had a very strong depression, anxiety, they discovered about epilepsy … A thousand things happened to me at that moment, and that day was not cool for me, I was kind of in automatic mode.

Although Quevedo fully agreed with the interview, he spoke to Riano a few days later to ask him not to broadcast the interview. because it was one of the more “heavy” moments in his life, he said. It should be noted that the comedian indicated that he distanced himself from Alejandro for a while in order to be able to best assimilate the situation, but it really highlighted the affection and connection between the two, since both were part of The Comedian. night”.

What is epilepsy and what are its symptoms?

According to the MedlinePlus platform, this disease is a brain disorder in which a person has recurrent seizures over time. Seizures are episodes of activity uncontrolled and abnormal movement of neurons that can cause changes in attention or behavior.

As for the symptoms, this page states that they can vary from one person to another. Some people may have simple no-show episodes. Others have severe tremors and loss of alertness. View the seizure depends on the affected part of the brain, since in most cases the seizure is similar to the previous one.


Source: thegoaspotlight.com

Make-A-Wish gave this Iowa family a bike and sense of freedom. On RAGBRAI, they paid it forward.

Make-A-Wish gave this Iowa family a bike and sense of freedom. On RAGBRAI, they paid it forward.

The lives of many parents with special needs children are marked by dividing and conquering.

One parents stays home while the other goes out. One parent is focused on the child while the other cooks or cleans or works. One parent here, the other there. Split focus.

Life becomes separate, a little isolating — sometimes even when you’re together.

So when Maria La France was applying for a wish from Make-A-Wish Iowa for her son, Quincy Hostager, whose rare genetic epilepsy syndrome renders him nonverbal and mostly immobile, she wanted something that would put her whole family side by side.

As an active cyclist who met her husband, Dan Hostager, on RAGBRAI, she knew just the thing — a specially made bicycle.

“Pretty much anyone who has a family member who is faced with a life-threatening illness has had their life forever altered,” La France says. “In many cases, they’re left out of simple things like going on a bike ride or doing something together as a family, and Make-A-Wish comes along and says, ‘Come on, you’re gonna do the things. You’re gonna get your wish.’”

“This bike was such a game changer for us, and it’s changed our life in such a positive way,” she adds.

When Quincy reached a new milestone this spring by completing high school, La France didn’t want to have a regular backyard party where people felt obligated to bring a gift. Instead, she wanted to pay Quincy’s wish forward — and fulfill a personal dream along the way.

So she got a group of friends together to ride a day of RAGBRAI and fundraise for Make-A-Wish, hoping that as they pedaled they could raise enough money for another family to experience the joy of cycling just as they had.

“We don’t know how much Quincy understands, but we know that he knows love and he knows people,” La France says. The freedom of biking, she adds, gives him access to both.

Couple meets through chance encounter on RAGBRAI

La France has always been active, and even biked every day to pick up her older son from day care. Her husband, Dan, cycled, too, and was an elite runner and track coach for years.

The pair met in 1998 when he stopped by the house where her RAGBRAI team was camping for the night.

La France needed to go to the store but didn’t want to drive the huge U-Haul they’d being using to transport bikes that week, so Hostager offered to take her. They hit it off on their short drive to the grocery and have, essentially, never looked back.

“In fact, that evening we were just talking as a group and someone turned to us and said, ‘Are you two married?”’ La France remembers. “And I thought to myself, ‘I could be.’”

They did one more full RAGBRAI, but had Quincy, a honeymoon baby, within a few years of their grocery trip.

Quincy was born perfectly healthy, La France says, but started having seizures at about five months. They saw doctor after doctor, and did test after test for every illness imaginable, each one more draining or invasive than the next. Nearly a decade after symptoms first started, they got the diagnosis of Dravet syndrome.

“Many times, we’d end up in the hospital or think that he wasn’t going to make it,” she says. “Now, thanks to a combination of medical cannabis and some other drugs, he’s in a much healthier, much more stable, predictable lifestyle — so much so that we’re able to even consider going on a bike ride.”

At 21, Quincy is not seizure free, La France says, but the seizures are under control. And after years of the unrelenting whirlwind of medical appointments and procedures, the family is starting to “savor” life again.

“We’ve had to come to a place of acceptance that he’s always going to have Dravet syndrome, and so, now, how do we make the most of it?” she says.

“We have kind of flipped the bird at the disease and said, ‘Hey, this is the life we’re gonna have. We’re gonna have fun. We’re gonna have a life as a family despite this illness. It’s not going to get the best of us.’”

Specially made Make-A-Wish bike has offered family time together

Before they were gifted their specially made bike, the family had a traditional Burley bike trailer. But as Quincy grew, a trailer connected to the back of the bike became untenable and unsafe — he could start having a seizure and they wouldn’t be able to see him. They thought about buying a pedicab, but that would be unwieldy on the roads and trails around Des Moines.

“I was in Europe, and I saw a lot of bikes like the one we have now for elderly parents or special needs kids,” Dan Hostager says. “It was just commonplace there, where you don’t see them over here so much, so that kind of started the process.”

Their wish was granted in 2019, and they’ve been on the move ever since.

Most Sundays when the weather is nice, the family takes a bike ride around town. The front carriage of their specially made bike detaches into a wheelchair, allowing them to get Quincy out in the fresh air at festivals or markets — and, even more importantly, letting him be around people and their love.

“When we are on a bike ride, complete strangers let their guard down,” La France says. “When we’re on the trail, they actually smile and wave. And when we’re stopped, like when we’re at Water Works Park or the farmers market, they come up and want to take their picture with him.”

The wish gave them what they set out to find, namely time being active and time together, La France says. But it’s also given her the comfort that her son can be part of this world. That he won’t be forgotten.

“If we can have more people experience that, it will make us and Quincy very happy,” she says.

Family feels ‘amazing’ support from relatives, friends, ‘complete strangers’

Just as riders were dipping their tires in Davenport on Saturday, Team Quincy met their goal of $10,000, which is about the cost of a new specially made bike, La France says.

“It felt amazing to have the support of Team Quincy and complete strangers who I’ve never met making donations,” she says. “That’s just the power of what someone can do when it’s not just about yourself, but when it’s about looking out for others.”

“That’s what we’ve benefited from with all of our friends and family looking out for us,” she adds. “Sometimes you can feel so alone and socially isolated with a person with a serious illness and just knowing that you’re not is such a gift.”


Source: desmoinesregister.com, Courtney Crowder

Orange County senior overcoming medical challenges

Orange County senior overcoming medical challenges

ORLANDO, Fla. — As students head back into the classroom for a new school year, some may be taking ongoing challenges — like health concerns — with them.

A Harris Poll on behalf of the nonprofit On Our Sleeves Movement for Children’s Mental Health found that 71% of American parents say their children experienced challenges last school year — ranging from safety concerns, bullying, to mental health issues.

One Orange County high school senior, Bella Aguilar, is managing a lifelong battle with epilepsy. Thanks to her progress, she’s able to enjoy something that she loves — flag football.

“I rarely worry when I play flag football,” Aguilar said. “It’s just super fun, and we’re always giggling on the sidelines.”

When Aguilar was 18 months old, she was sent to the hospital for a sudden illness, where doctors discovered her condition.

“We were like, ‘Oh, she’s a space cadet’,” said Aguilar’s mother, Shannon Aguilar. “She would stare off into space, and we didn’t realize what was happening.”

Shannon Aguilar recalls talking with Bella’s father about their daughter’s diagnosis.

“She has epilepsy, and she’s not going to live a normal life,” Shannon Aguilar remembered. “She’s not going to go to college, and she’s not going to graduate high school. She’s not going to drive. She’s not going to be like her peers. I remember having to tell him that and him holding her just crying, and we had no clue what the future was going to look like.”

Bella Aguilar doesn’t remember much from her early childhood. Seizures erased most of her memories, but she remembers worrying she wouldn’t be able to do things that other children could.

“I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to do things like normal kids, like a sleepover,” Bella Aguilar said.

Aguilar’s mom and dad were worried she may never grow up and be able to live on her own. At one point, she suffered about 20 seizures a day, and they even worried epilepsy could prematurely end her life.

“Her seizures were so bad,” Shannon Aguilar said. “She was losing memory. She was losing just regular skills. She forgot how to spell her name. She couldn’t write her name. She couldn’t tie her shoes — all things a fourth- or fifth-grader should be able to do.”

Even with all her prescribed medications and after five brain surgeries, Aguilar was still struggling. She did some of her own research into something her doctor suggested — VNS, or Vagus Nerve Stimulation. And she started VNS treatment, getting a small device implanted that now sends pulses to her brain to prevent and lessen seizures.

VNS therapy allowed Aguilar to worry less about when her next seizure would be and focus more on her education. Like all students with disabilities, Aguilar was able to access an Individualized Education Program, or IEP, in addition to a 504 program that allowed her certain conditions for test-taking and other resources that allowed her to be a successful student.

She went from falling behind to surpassing her grade level and now is beginning her senior year at Boone High School and is dual-enrolled at Valencia College.

She’s also working on applying to more colleges. She’s already been accepted at one school.

“It’s really cool, especially since my parents thought I’d never get here, so I feel accomplished,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar stars on Boone High School’s varsity flag football team, just one of four sports she’s competed in during high school.

“I feel really good about my future,” Aguilar said. “I don’t know what it holds, but I’m excited, and I know I have people to support me, even with my health.”

Aguilar said nothing is holding her back, “besides my parents not wanting me to move away.”

Aguilar said her goal is to work in public relations to advance the cause of organizations that have helped her. She’s already raised thousands of dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Her parents’ hopes and dreams were answered, even if it means letting their daughter spread her wings and move away.

“I’m getting accustomed to opening up to the fact that she may not be here for the rest of her life, but I look forward to seeing wherever that journey of life takes her to,” said Aguilar’s father, Chris.

The Orange County Public School district serves nearly 38,000 students through its Exceptional Student Education Program, including more than a third of those students considered gifted. Students enrolled are evaluated annually to gauge progress. Parents can reach out to the school district at any time in the school year if they want to ask about enrolling their child simply by getting in contact with someone at their child’s school.

“If they feel like their child is struggling and they want that help, they go to the school, they speak to a staffing specialist sometimes or an administrator, and ask for a meeting,” said Wendy Ivory, OCPS ESE executive leader. “At that point, that’s what the school will do is help them navigate that process.”

Parents can also access the OCPS website and click on a button on the website labeled “submit a parent support ticket” to request more information about ESE services.


Source: mynews13.com, Jeff Allen,

Delightful Derek is a perfect match for epilepsy client

Delightful Derek is a perfect match for epilepsy client

Derek the yellow Labrador is six months into his training with Sheffield-based charity Support Dogs.

Staff at the organization’s training center, in Brightside, train assistance dogs for autistic children, adults with epilepsy, and adults with serious physical conditions such as multiple Sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Derek’s trainer, Lottie Barlow, says he would be perfect for the charity’s epilepsy alert program, which trains dogs to be able to detect a seizure up to one hour before it happens.

Lottie said: “He is so loving and affectionate – his favorite thing is to be with his people. “He is absolutely obsessed with me. Within three weeks, Emily, Derek’s puppy coordinator, didn’t get a look in.

“He is very clingy, which is why he’s perfect for the seizure alert program – when they go to a seizure alert program client, they are with that person 24/7, they do not leave their side.” She added: “He is a very quick learner, and if he gets food for completing a task, even better.” There is good news for Derek – he has been successfully matched with a client on Support Dogs’ waiting list.

Having a dog that can detect a seizure coming on can enable the person to get to somewhere safe and comfortable, preventing them from injuring themselves during a seizure.

When not in training, Derek, who turns two in August, is looked after by volunteer foster care, who Lottie says “love the bones of him – they absolutely adore him”.
Derek was named in memory of the husband of a supporter of the charity.

Lottie, who has been a trainer with the charity for two years, says Derek’s favorite food is cheese, though she adds: “He will eat absolutely anything – he is very much a typical Labrador in that he loves his food.” Derek, who is Lottie’s eighth dog in training, has just passed his second assessment, so he is past the half-way mark of the course. His skills are being tweaked before he moves over to Support Dogs’ instructors in September, pending him passing his assessments, who will hone his skills and tailor them to be bespoke to the client’s needs.

Lottie is currently working on how Derek handles being on public transport, and then they will cover different public spaces.

Support Dogs is recruiting volunteer puppy socializers to help provide a loving home for dogs in training like Derek. Please visit www.supportdogs.org.uk for more details.


Source: uk.news.yahoo.com, Angela Furniss

Do not skip medicines: Doctor’s advice after bride suffers seizure during her wedding

Do not skip medicines: Doctor’s advice after bride suffers seizure during her wedding

Doctor diagnosed the bride with Prenuptial Seizures, due to the high stress and lack of sleep prior to the ceremony

Do not neglect your medications, even on the day of the wedding. Prioritize ample rest and minimize stress both before and on your special day. This advice comes from a doctor, prompted by a bride’s seizure attack during her wedding ceremony.

Mamta (name changed), a bride, experienced a seizure attack during her wedding ceremony, causing concern among the attendees. The event took a dramatic turn when she became unconscious after taking the fifth ‘phera’ of her wedding. Fortunately, her to-be husband, Sanjay (name changed), quickly supported her to prevent a fall. After checking her pulse and heart rate, it was evident that Ms. Mamta was breathing but unconscious, with no movements in her hands and legs.

The bride was immediately rushed to the Emergency Room (ER) and while on the way, she regained her consciousness. On enquiry by doctors, her parents recalled that Ms. Mamta had a seizure at the age of 10 after which she took anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) for a few months, and later discontinued without doctor’s advice.

Senior consultant neurologist at Apollo Hospitals Hyderabad Sudhir Kumar said that the diagnosis was easy after getting to know about her previous seizure attack. It was a possible recurrence of seizure on wedding day. An Electroencephalogram (EEG) showed generalized epileptiform discharges, while brain imaging appeared normal. The final diagnosis was Prenuptial Seizures, a condition where seizures can occur on or before the wedding due to various factors.

Multiple factors

Just before marriage, there are multiple factors that can increase the risk of epilepsy. The possible reasons are sleep deprivation because of multiple rituals and whatever happens, there will be a reasonable amount of stress. Due to the stigma present in the society, many women are having to hide their epilepsy, some people even feel that it is a mental illness. As a result they cannot take medicines on or during the wedding ceremony It is surprising that until two decades back, epilepsy in a woman was a cause for divorce also but fortunately the law has changed now, Dr. Sudhir added.

Epilepsy is a lifelong condition, and while the frequency of seizures may vary, skipping medications, sleep deprivation, and stress remain common triggers for seizure relapses. Proper management and adherence to medication can significantly improve the quality of life and prevent unforeseen seizure episodes.

Ms. Mamta’s case serves as a poignant reminder that health should never be compromised, even on momentous occasions like weddings.


Source: thehindu.com, Siddharth Kumar Singh

Have chronic sleep deprivation? Beware of these neurological disorders

Have chronic sleep deprivation? Beware of these neurological disorders

A crucial component of our general health and wellness is sleep, since our bodies and minds go through critical restorative processes when we sleep.However, in today’s fast-paced world, many people frequently forego their sleep in favor of work, socializing, or entertainment, not comprehending the potential negative effects of long-term sleep deprivation.Prolonged sleep deprivation may lead to the development of various neurological disorders.


Chronic sleep deprivation and disturbed sleep patterns have both been connected to Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep is essential for the brain’s removal of dangerous waste materials like beta-amyloid. These poisons can build up during inadequate or interrupted sleep, thereby raising the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This progressive and irreversible neurodegenerative disorder affects the brain’s functions, particularly memory, thinking, and behavior.

Sleep apnea

Poor sleep quality is a major contributor to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep.The frequent breathing pauses brought on by sleep apnea result in inadequate oxygenation of the brain. This may lead to memory loss, cognitive deficiencies, and a higher risk of cardiovascular complications.


Epilepsy is a disorder that is commonly associated with sleep problems. In epilepsy the brain’s electrical rhythms tend to become imbalanced, resulting in recurrent seizures. Seizures cause a sudden alteration of behavior due to a temporary change in the electrical functioning of the brain. Stress, low blood sugar level and sleep deprivation are major causes of epilepsy.


A long-term neurological condition called narcolepsy interferes with the brain’s capacity to control sleep-wake cycles. It is caused by a deficiency of hypocretin, a chemical in the brain that regulates wakefulness and sleep. Excessive daytime sleepiness is a symptom of narcolepsy, which can cause rapid, uncontrollable episodes of daytime sleepiness. These sleep bouts can happen at any time, frequently while engaging in routine activities.

Parkinson’s disease

Although the exact link between lack of sleep and Parkinson’s disease is unclear, various research has pointed out possible correlations. During sleep, the brain clears out toxins in the body, including abnormal proteins like alpha-synuclein, which is associated with Parkinson’s disease. Chronic sleep deprivation may interfere with this protein clearance process, leading to the accumulation of harmful substances in the brain.


Source: newsbytesapp.com, Apurva P

Most popular assistance dog breeds and how they help people with disability

Most popular assistance dog breeds and how they help people with disability

A properly trained dog known as an assistance dog helps people with impairments and gives them more independence, comfort, and security.

Dogs with their selfless love and unflinching loyalty are indeed man’s best friend. They help enhance several aspects of our well-being and are a joy to be with. Did you know there are certain dogs that are trained to help people deal with their disability and lead a better life. They are called assistance dogs or service dogs and are given intense training to hone their skill of helping people so that they can be a blessing for people who can’t operate on their own and need a bit of guidance. There are different types of assistance dogs. Some may assist people with visual impairment, others could help one deal with autism or epilepsy, or mobility issues. Then there are psychiatric service dogs who may alert others when their owners are indulging in any kind of self-harming behavior or destructive tendencies.

To execute particular duties that their human counterparts would find difficult due to their physical, neurological, or psychological impairments, these canines go through intense training

“A properly trained dog known as an assistance dog helps people with impairments and gives them more independence, comfort, and security. To execute particular duties that their human counterparts would find difficult due to their physical, neurological, or psychological impairments, these canines go through intense training,” says Dr. Sanjiv Rajadhyaksha, Medical Director at Wiggles MyVet.

Dr Rajadhyaksha says assistance dogs can be divided into several categories, each with a specific function:

Guide dogs: These canines are trained to guide visually impaired or blind people, assisting them in securely navigating their surroundings. Hearing dogs help those who have hearing loss by alerting them to important noises like doorbells, alarms, or a screaming baby.

Service dogs: These canines help people who have disabilities other than vision or hearing, such as autism, epilepsy, or mobility issues. Service dogs can be trained to do anything from retrieve dropped objects to open doors, help balance, and even warn of impending seizures.

Psychiatric service dogs: Service dogs for those with mental illnesses like PTSD, anxiety, and depression are known as psychiatric service dogs. They may intervene in self-destructive behaviors, offer tactile stimulation to ease misery, or even remind their handler to take their medication.

Best assistance dog breeds

“Assistance dogs provide a crucial function and greatly enhance the quality of life for their owners. However, not all dog breeds make good assistance dogs. Intelligent, trainable, temperamental, and physically strong traits are present in the most popular assistance dog breeds,” says Rajadhyaksha.

The following are some of the most popular breeds:

The Labrador Retriever is a well-liked breed for all kinds of assistance dogs because of their intelligence, adaptability, and kind disposition. They are eager to please and very trainable.

Golden Retrievers are renowned for their intellect, tolerance, and flexibility, just like Labradors. They naturally have a retrieving tendency, which is advantageous for service dog activities.

German Shepherds because of their intelligence, trainability, and protective attitude. German Shepherds are frequently used as guiding dogs. They have a strong sense of direction and are agile and tough.

Poodles because of their high intelligence and hypoallergenic coats make for good assistance dogs. Poodles—including Standard, Miniature, and Toy varieties—are utilized as support dogs. They are useful for many types of help duties because of their range of sizes.

Border Collies are one of the most intellectual canine breeds, Border Collies are known for their quick learning abilities and versatility in a variety of settings, including as psychiatric service dogs.

“Although these breeds are widespread, keep in mind that the best assistance dog depends on the handler’s unique demands as well as the temperament of the dog. The special relationship that develops between a person and their assistance dog is what makes these canine friends so crucial,” concludes Dr Rajadhyaksha.


Source: hindustantimes.com, Parmita Uniyal

Location of Brain Lesions May Predict Seizures

Location of Brain Lesions May Predict Seizures

The location of a lesion in the brain could give clues as to whether or not it will cause seizures later on in life, according to the findings of a new multicenter study published in JAMA Neurology.

Epilepsy, which is characterized by repeated seizures and can cause debilitating symptoms arising from them such as cognitive, emotional and sensory impairments, affects more than 40 million people worldwide and is commonly caused by brain lesions, according to the World Health Organization.

It’s not well understood why some brain lesions cause seizures while others do not, according to Jordan Grafman, PhD, professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and a co-author of the study, prompting scientists to investigate whether brain lesions causing epilepsy mapped onto a brain network.

In the study, investigators analyzed brain MRI imaging from more than 750 people living with brain lesions and utilized a lesion network mapping algorithm to link lesion location to symptoms commonly associated with damage to that specific area of the brain.

After comparing the lesion location data to healthy brains as part of the Brain Connectome dataset, investigators found that large lesions in the cerebral cortex were associated with an increased risk of epilepsy.

“In addition, we found that there are some regions that make it more likely that you’ll develop epilepsy after you have a focal lesion, whether it be a stroke or penetrating traumatic brain injuries,” said Grafman, who is also a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and directs brain injury research at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. “Probably the highest likelihood of having a seizure is if you had an entry point for your penetrating injury and the parietal lobe in the back of the brain. What we also found was all those regions were connected to basal ganglia, deep brain structures and the cerebellum. These areas are very involved with motor control, precision of movements and the automaticity of movements.”

The results were the same even after controlling for lesion size, according to the study.

Next, investigators examined whether deep brain stimulation by electrodes placed in the anterior thalamus were most effective when they targeted one of the key regions in the identified brain network.

Stimulating those areas of the brain led to a reduction in seizure frequency, according to the study.

The location of brain lesion could give clues as to whether or not it will cause seizures later on in life, according to the findings of the study published in JAMA Neurology.

“We found that the brain network we identified was therapeutically relevant in deep brain stimulation, or DBS, therapy for patients with drug resistant epilepsy,” said Frederick Schaper, MD, PhD, a neuroscientist in the Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and first author of the study.

Thalamic DBS sites more connected to this network were associated with better seizure control compared to DBS sites less connected. These findings may help guide neurologists and neurosurgeons to improve seizure control in patients receiving DBS for focal epilepsy and may help explain why thalamic DBS can benefit patients with different types of focal epilepsy.

Many of the study participants were Vietnam War veterans who suffered traumatic brain injuries during their service and experienced seizures years or even decades later, Grafman said, and the results of the study may help predict a patient’s risk of developing epilepsy following a stroke or injury. The findings could also guide future deep brain stimulation trials, he added.

“The results of the study are a teaching tool, for sure,” Grafman said. “If clinicians see a person who’s had a stroke or had another kind of focal injury and they know that the injury is to a region in the identified brain network, they can make the patient and their family aware that it might be more likely that patient is going to have a seizure at some point  in the future and consider putting them on prophylactic anti-convulsant medication to try to prevent that.”


Source: news.feinberg.northwestern.edu,  Olivia Dimmer

Seizure Latency May Help Differentiate Epileptic vs Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures

Seizure Latency May Help Differentiate Epileptic vs Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures

Patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) experienced seizures significantly earlier than patients with epileptic seizures (ES), suggesting that seizure latency may help physicians differentiate between the seizure types. Findings from the retrospective study were published in the journal Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria

PNES and ES have similarities that can make it difficult to differentiate between them, and long-term video-electroencephalographic monitoring (VEM) is often required for differential diagnosis. In the study, researchers used VEM to investigate latency, defined as the time in hours from electroencephalogram (EEG) video recording to the first seizure, to better understand if seizure latency can aid physicians in the differential diagnosis of ES vs PNES.

“The time until seizures occur (latency) directly affects the time of the differential diagnosis,” the authors wrote. “It is an easily available quantitative value, but its contribution to the differential diagnosis of ES and PNES is not fully known.”

The researchers obtained data from a total of 497 adult patients who had been hospitalized for the differential diagnosis of ES, seizure classification, or pre-surgical evaluation over a 7-year period. Patients with other nonepileptic attacks, including syncope, hypoglycemia, cardia arrhythmia, cataplexy, and movement disorders, as well as patients with concomitant ES, were excluded. After exclusion, 48 patients with PNES were diagnosed using VEM and 51 patients with ES were matched for gender and age and included in the analysis.

A total of 294 seizures, 118 (40.1%) PNES and 176 (59.9%) ES, were recorded and evaluated. Additionally, the researchers grouped patients with PNES into 4 seizure types according to their semiological features:

  • 29 had subjective features
  • 46 had akinetic features
  • 26 had minor motor features
  • 17 had hypermotor features

The day was also separated into 4 intervals: 6:01 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 12:01 p.m.to 6:00 p.m., 6:01 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., and 12:01 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.

The authors found that seizure latency was much shorter among patients with PNES compared with patients with ES. Additionally, 72% of patients with PNES experienced their first seizure within 24 hours of video recording compared with 49.1% of patients with ES. Furthermore, 12.5% of patients with PNES required recording longer than 48 hours, compared with 37.3% of patients with ES. Lastly, while ES seizures were almost evenly distributed throughout the day, most PNES seizures occurred within the evening hours.

The researchers acknowledge some limitations to the study, including its retrospective nature. Additionally, the antiepileptic drugs reduction protocol required in the study may not have been the same across all enrolled patients, which may have influenced seizure latency.

Despite these limitations, the researchers believe the study shows that there may be shorter seizure latency among patients with PNES compared with patients with ES. This suggests a possible connection between seizure latency and differential diagnosis of PNES and ES.

“In conclusion, our study demonstrated that seizure latency was significantly shorter in PNES than ES, and PNES clustered during daylight hours,” wrote the researchers. “Although not strictly reliable, seizure latency can also be considered in the differential diagnosis of ES and PNES.”


Source: ajmc.com,

Does Epilepsy Affect Women Differently?

Does Epilepsy Affect Women Differently?

From puberty to pregnancy, epilepsy affects more than one million women in the United States. Women with epilepsy face unique challenges when dealing with hormonal changes throughout their lives. “It’s important to be aware of these challenges, and even more important to maintain a consistent relationship with a physician to proactively manage each life stage,” says Anumeha Sheth, MD, neurologist at the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Seizure and Epilepsy Center in Southington.

What is epilepsy?

By itself, a single seizure doesn’t constitute epilepsy. Epilepsy occurs when surges of electrical activity in the brain cause recurring, unprovoked seizures. It’s estimated that 1 in 26 people develop the condition. Epilepsy does not discriminate – it affects people of all genders, races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.

Epilepsy looks different for everyone

People with epilepsy can have different types of seizures, or other symptoms of neurological problems. These include:

  • Temporary confusion
  • Staring spells
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements
  • Loss of consciousness

Can you still have a healthy pregnancy if you have epilepsy?

Women with epilepsy are just as likely to get pregnant and can still carry a healthy baby. “Many women have healthy pregnancies with no worsening of seizure control. Generally, if a woman’s epilepsy is controlled in the months leading up to pregnancy, then it’s likely to remain controlled during pregnancy,” Sheth says. More than 90% of babies born to women with epilepsy are healthy. Sheth advises women to discuss their condition ahead of time with their doctor.

How is epilepsy treated?

“Treatment with medicine or sometimes surgery can control seizures for most women with epilepsy. For some women, seizures could eventually go away, But for others, epilepsy requires lifelong treatment,” Sheth adds.


Resource: hartfordhealthcare.org

12 Reasons Dogs Have Seizures and Ways to Help Them

12 Reasons Dogs Have Seizures and Ways to Help Them

It can be scary when your dog has a seizure, and difficult to keep calm. If your dog just seized and you’re waiting on a veterinary appointment, you may be wondering about the reasons dogs have seizures or how to help.

Seizures in dogs can be caused by poisoning, underlying illness, brain tumors, brain damage, heatstroke, nutritional deficiencies, and heartworm. If your dog has a seizure, do your best to time and videotape it. Call your veterinarian for help.

Many times, you can wait for an appointment with your primary veterinarian after a seizure. However, sometimes seizures are emergent. Please call an emergency vet clinic if your dog has more than one seizure in 24 hours or a seizure lasting over three minutes.

If you suspect poisoning, brain trauma, or heatstroke, your dog needs to see an emergency vet right away.

In this article, we’ll discuss 12 reasons dogs have seizures and how you can help them.

#1: Idiopathic Epilepsy

Also known as primary epilepsy, idiopathic epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures in young dogs. Idiopathic epilepsy’s cause is unknown, but we do know that it’s genetic.

Breeds most likely to inherit epilepsy include Bull Terriers, herding dogs, retrievers, and brachycephalic (short-snouted) breeds.

Dogs can also have secondary epilepsy, meaning their epilepsy is a symptom of another primary condition. It’s important for your veterinarian to rule out secondary epilepsy before diagnosing your dog with idiopathic epilepsy. This requires testing and diagnostics.

#2: Poisoning

Poisoning is one of the top reasons for seizures in dogs. According to Southeast Veterinary Neurology, the following toxins can cause seizures in dogs:

  • Alcohol (including both alcoholic beverages and other items containing alcohol, such as antifreeze)
  • Animal toxins such as from Bufo Toads or Killer Bees
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Foods such as chocolate, caffeine, or foods containing the sweetener xylitol
  • Excess salt, such as that found in Play-Dough or saltwater (while dogs need salt in their diet, too much can cause poisoning)
  • Heavy metals such as lead or zinc (which is found in pennies)
  • Drugs and medications
  • Pesticides
  • Toxic plants

Poisoning that causes a dog to have a seizure is considered an emergency medical situation. Please call your nearest emergency vet clinic, or see if your primary vet is open and takes emergency appointments. Do not wait to have your dog seen.

#3: Liver Disease

Liver disease in dogs can cause neurological problems in dogs, including seizures. Liver disease occurs when the liver is damaged, typically by poisoning, medications, or infections.

According to Merck Veterinary Manual, symptoms of liver disease in dogs include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ulceration
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Neurological problems
  • Fever
  • Blood clotting problems
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Jaundice
  • Fluid in the abdomen
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Changes in the size of the liver

Your veterinarian can diagnose your dog with liver disease using blood tests, imaging, and biopsies.

When a dog’s liver is damaged, it can regenerate, but sometimes not quickly enough–especially if the damage is ongoing. Prompt treatment gives them the best chances of recovery.

#4: Kidney Failure

Kidney failure happens when a dog’s kidneys are no longer functioning well enough to filter toxins from their blood. Kidney failure can both cause seizures and be caused by seizures.

Symptoms of kidney disease include:

  • Excess thirst and urination
  • Decreased appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bad breath
  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Seizures

Kidney disease can be diagnosed via blood and urine tests at the vet. Treating kidney disease early gives your dog the best chance at a longer, healthier life with fewer complications.

#5: Brain Tumors

There are two types of brain tumors in dogs. Primary brain tumors initiate in the brain, while secondary tumors spread from other parts of the body. Brain tumors can be cancerous but aren’t always.

Meningiomas, which are a type of benign brain tumor, are most commonly seen in long-snouted breeds such as Collies. Meanwhile, pituitary gland tumors and glial cell tumors are more often seen in short-snouted breeds.

Symptoms of brain tumors include:

  • Abnormal behaviors
  • Changes in vision
  • Walking in circles
  • Wobbly walking
  • Head tilt
  • Neck pain
  • Seizures

Your veterinarian can diagnose the type of tumor your dog has based on various forms of testing and can give you a treatment plan–which may vary from chemotherapy or neurosurgery to simply keeping your dog comfortable for the remainder of their lives.

#6: Trauma to the Brain

Any trauma or damage to the brain can cause seizures. For the most part, you will know if your dog has been hurt in this way. Maybe they were in the car during an accident or fell and hit their head.

If your dog has seizures after an injury, it’s important to get them to the vet right away.

#7: Heat Stroke

Heat stroke in dogs is a medical emergency caused by elevated body temperature. You’ll most often see heat stroke in dogs who have been left in a hot car or after strenuous exercise in hot weather.

Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Shock
  • Organ damage
  • Blood clotting problems

Short-snouted, or brachycephalic, breeds are most prone to heat stroke. Large breeds are also more at risk.

If you suspect your dog has had a heat stroke, please call your nearest emergency vet clinic or see if your primary vet takes on emergency patients.

#8: Thiamine Deficiency

Thiamine, or vitamin B1, helps a dog’s metabolism and cell health. If they’re deficient in this key nutrient, dogs first show gastrointestinal symptoms such as poor appetite, upset stomach, and weight loss. They will then go on to have neurological symptoms, which can include seizures as well as uneven pupils, and a decreased response to light. They may even have cardiothoracic issues if the deficiency is severe.

If your dog is eating storebought kibble, especially those from large brands, they’re very unlikely to develop nutritional deficiencies. However, there have been recalls in the past due to dog foods not containing enough thiamine.

Homemade diets are much more likely to cause nutritional deficiencies, and it’s essential to work with a certified veterinary nutritionist if you want to make your dog’s food yourself. (Please note that “pet nutritionist” is a label anyone can use, so they must be board-certified to ensure they have the proper qualifications.)

#9: Diabetes or Low Blood Sugar

Diabetes in dogs happens when their bodies don’t process glucose as they should. Symptoms of diabetes in dogs include:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Weight loss, even with an increased appetite
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Chronic or repeat infections

Without treatment, diabetes can cause neurological symptoms such as seizures and even comas in dogs.

Vets diagnose diabetes using blood and urine tests. While diabetes cannot be cured, it can be managed, and many dogs go on to live long and healthy lives.

#10: Heartworm

Heartworm is a rare cause of seizures in dogs, but it’s possible. Since the heartworm test is simple and commonly performed, it’s worth asking your veterinarian about heartworm if your dog is having seizures.

Heartworm is a parasite transferred by mosquitos, which can carry larvae after drinking blood from infected animals.

Dogs with small numbers of heartworm can be asymptomatic, but symptoms typically escalate as the worms reproduce. The most common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Heart failure
  • Blocked blood flow

Heartworm is easy to prevent but painful to treat, so it’s best to have your dog on parasite-preventative medication that prevents heartworms and keep them on it year-round.

If you think your dog has heartworm, please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Heartworm can be fatal, especially when left untreated.

#11: Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)

Canine distemper virus, or CDV, impacts dogs’ respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Once the disease progresses to attacking the nervous system, seizures are possible.

Symptoms of canine distemper include:

  • Eye and nose discharge
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Head tilt
  • Muscle spasms
  • Jaw convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Thickened paw pads

All dogs can develop CDV, but puppies and unvaccinated adult dogs are most susceptible. This is a serious disease, so prompt veterinary care is a must.

Unfortunately, the prognosis for canine distemper is poor, which is why vaccinating your dog at a young age is so important!

#12: Rabies

Rabies typically occurs when an unvaccinated dog is bitten by an infected animal. Dogs with up-to-date rabies vaccines are very unlikely to develop it, as are dogs kept inside and away from wildlife and other potentially-infected animals.

There are two types of rabies in dogs: furious rabies and dumb rabies. Furious rabies is the least common and typically ends in death by seizure. Other symptoms of furious rabies include aggressive or excitable behavior, increased appetite, pica (eating non-food items), and paralysis.

Dumb rabies causes progressive paralysis, which typically begins with the limbs, face, and throat and ends in a coma before the dog dies.

Rabies is highly contagious and deadly. If you think your dog has rabies, it’s important to consult a veterinarian as well as human doctors–everyone who came into contact with your dog should have rabies vaccines. Rabies isn’t only transferred when a dog bites but can also be caught through contact with their saliva.

How to Spot and Time Seizures in Dogs

Now that we’ve discussed the reasons your dog might have seizures let’s talk about what they look like and how to record them. This will help your vet get a clearer picture of your dog’s health and may help identify a pattern of your dog’s seizures.

There are three phases of seizures in dogs:

  • Pre-ictal phase: Your dog will likely behave anxiously as if they can feel a seizure coming. They may pace, whine, or seek comfort. This can last seconds or hours before the seizure occurs.
  • Ictal phase: This is the seizure itself and when you should start timing. Most seizures last seconds or minutes. Seizures and dogs can be subtle with symptoms like trembling, lip licking, staring, or appearing dazed or confused. They can also cause easier-to-spot symptoms like collapse and erratic movements. Your dog may pee or poop during a seizure, or they may salivate excessively.
  • Post-ictal phase: After the seizure, your dog may seem confused or restless. They may drool excessively or become blind temporarily. This does not count toward the amount of time your dog is seizing.

our veterinarian can work with you to determine what each of these phases looks like in your dog so that you can monitor their seizures as accurately as possible.

If you’re unsure, you can try to record your dog’s seizure for your vet. This can both confirm that they’re experiencing seizures, help you to know how long they last, and help your vet to explain what each phase looks like.

Should I Worry if my Dog had a Seizure?

Some dogs have one unexplained seizure, with no other symptoms or seizures following. However, you should always notify your vet immediately after your dog seizes.

They may suggest that you bring your dog in for an exam or simply note the seizure and have you monitor your dog for more in the future.

If your dog has more than one seizure in a month, they must see a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Multiple seizures in a single day or any seizure lasting over three minutes warrants an emergency vet visit. If you suspect your dog has eaten something toxic, they should also see an emergency vet immediately.

How to Help a Dog With Seizures

Here are some ways to help your dog when they’re having seizures:

  • Time the seizure. Seizures lasting over three minutes are emergent, and you should call your nearest emergency vet clinic for help.
  • Record the seizure. Showing this to your vet later on can help with a diagnosis and can also remind you how long your dog was seizing and how it presented.
  • Stay away from your dog’s head. During a seizure, your dog isn’t themselves. Even docile dogs may bite.
  • Don’t put anything in their mouth. You can be bitten or cause your dog to choke. They will not swallow their tongues–this is a myth.
  • Keep them safe. As best as you can, ensure your dog doesn’t hurt themselves. You may need to move them to the floor, away from stairs, or remove sharp objects from the surrounding area. Be careful so that you aren’t bitten.
  • Don’t hold them down. This can cause injury to yourself or your dog.

After the seizure, you can watch your dog to ensure they’re okay and don’t have more seizures. Comfort them however they prefer, whether they want to cuddle or just sit nearby.

Try to remain calm so that your dog doesn’t panic. Remember to write down when and how long your dog seized.

If seizures are new for your dog, try thinking about the cause–have they been acting strange lately or had any other symptoms? Could they have eaten something toxic?

Lastly, call your veterinarian and let them know your dog had a seizure. Follow up however your vet recommends.

They may prescribe medications to reduce your dog’s seizures or recommend testing for or treating an underlying condition.

Summary of Reasons Dogs Have Seizures

Cause What to do
Idiopathic epilepsy Your veterinarian will rule out other causes and likely prescribe medication
Poisoning See an emergency vet immediately
Liver disease Visit the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment
Kidney failure Visit the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment
Brain tumor Visit the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment
Trauma to the brain See an emergency vet immediately
Heatstroke See an emergency vet immediately
Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency Visit the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment, change your dog’s diet to cover all necessary nutrients
Diabetes or low blood sugar Visit the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment
Heartworm Visit the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment
Canine distemper virus (CDV) Visit the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment
Rabies Seek veterinary help as well as help for any animals or humans who’ve interacted with the dog


Source: a-z-animals.com,

Neurologists develop armband that warns of epileptic seizures

Neurologists develop armband that warns of epileptic seizures

Dutch neurologists have conceived an innovation that aims to warn caregivers remotely of possible dangerous epileptic seizures being experienced by people with epilepsy during sleep including tonic and tonic-clonic seizures.

It aims to prevent the sudden and unexplained death of a person with epilepsy who was otherwise healthy (SUDEP).

NightWatch, a wireless armband developed by the SEIN and Kempenhaeghe epilepsy centers in The Netherlands, detects a possible major epileptic seizure and transmits a warning to a caregiver when the wearer is lying in bed. It consists of two main components; an armband and a base station.

The armband is worn on the upper arm with direct skin contact while the person is lying in bed. It monitors the wearer’s heart rate and motion using a heart rate module and a 3-dimensional accelerometer. It also uses artificial intelligence to analyze data and detect any signs of a potentially severe seizure.

When the armband detects a possible seizure, it sends a wireless signal to the base station which is placed on a bedside table or somewhere within range.

The base station then triggers an audio and visual alarm to notify a caregiver, who can check on the person and provide help if needed. The alarm can also be forwarded to mobile phones and call systems for remote monitoring.

The innovation can be connected to the internet so that one can obtain a readout of the wearer’s heart rate and motion data for each night. The device can detect 9 out of 10 types of seizures that could possibly cause SUDEP.

The comprehensive study, in which a large group of patients participated over thousands of nights, showed that the device detected 96 per cent of the most dangerous seizures and alerted caregivers in time.

The innovation aims to reduce the burden of caregivers and improve the quality of care being provided to people with epilepsy.


Source: standardmedia.co.ke, Roma Odhiambo

Lacosamide, epilepsy drug, shows neuroprotective effects in rat model

Lacosamide, epilepsy drug, shows neuroprotective effects in rat model

More dopaminergic neurons, better motor function seen in treated animals

Lacosamide, a medication approved to treat epilepsy, showed a potential to be neuroprotective in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease, a study reports.

Treatment with lacosamide significantly prevented the loss of dopamine-producing neurons that marks Parkinson’s, boosted dopamine production in key areas of the brain, and improved motor function in these animals.

Study findings “provide encouraging evidence for the prospective use of lacosamide, a drug often prescribed to treat adult and adolescent epilepsy, as a novel Parkinson’s disease therapeutic agent,” the researchers wrote.

The study, “Lacosamide Exhibits Neuroprotective Effects in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease,” was published in the Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy. 

Parkinson’s research into repurposing an approved epilepsy treatment

A neurodegenerative disease, Parkinson’s is primarily marked by motor symptoms, such as tremors and walking difficulties. These symptoms arise due to the death of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the substantia nigra, a brain region that regulates muscle movement and coordination. Dopamine is a brain chemical messenger essential for muscle control.

Current treatments, including its mainstay levodopa, a precursor to dopamine, help to ease symptoms.

Lacosamide, sold as Vimpat among other names, is approved as an add-on or standalone epilepsy treatment. It works in two ways to help control seizures. First, it slows the process that inactivates sodium channels in the brain, helping to reduce the chances of a seizure. Second, it affects a protein called collapsin response mediator protein 2, also helping in seizure control.

Likewise, “lacosamide exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which are crucial in neurodegenerative processes,” and it “has shown potential in preserving mitochondrial function,” the researchers noted. Mitochondria are a cell’s energy source

In previous studies, lacosamide also demonstrated a significant ability to reduce tremors in rats, and its antitremor effect was found to be similar to or stronger than known antitremor medications.

No studies to date, however, have assessed its potential in Parkinson’s disease.

Lacosamide’s use appears to support motor function in the rat model

Researchers in Turkey examined the therapeutic effects of lacosamide in a rat model of Parkinson’s. The model was generated by exposing the rats to the pesticide rotenone, which induces some motor and biochemical changes similar to those in patients.

Rats were placed equally across three groups: one was given a solution without rotenone to serve as healthy controls, while groups two and three received rotenone for 10 days.

Motor function in all 21 rats then was assessed using the apomorphine rotation test. Apomorphine makes the animals start to rotate or turn in circles, because the drug affects certain parts of the brain responsible for movement. Researchers observed how many times the animals turned or rotated for 10 minutes, with the rate of turns increasing as the disease progresses.

Over the next 28 days, group two was given a saline solution, while group three was treated with lacosamide. Another round of apomorphine-induced rotation tests were performed to assess treatment effects on motor function.

As expected, the number of rotations was significantly higher in rats with rotenone-induced Parkinson’s features compared with healthy controls, a mean of 128.3 vs. 1.3 turns over 10 minutes. However, rats treated with lacosamide showed a significant decrease in the number of rotations relative to the disease model group left untreated: a mean 61.2 vs. 158.4 turns in 10 minutes.

Researchers then analyzed the brain’s nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway — which includes the substantia nigra and the striatum, two areas marked by the loss of dopamine-producing neurons during the early stages of Parkinson’s.

More dopamine-producing neurons evident in brains of treated animals

A decrease in the overall number of nerve cells, particularly dopamine-producing neurons, was evident in brains of the two Parkinson’s model rats relative to controls. These dopaminergic neurons were identified by the presence of a protein called tyrosine hydroxylase, or TH.

But between animals in the disease model groups, rats treated with lacosamide had a substantially better total nerve cell and dopamine-producing neuron count, the latter measured by TH presence, than those left untreated.

These findings suggest that lacosamide “may be effective in halting Parkinson’s disease-related neuronal death,” the researchers wrote.

Parkinson’s rats also showed significantly higher brain levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of oxidative stress, than did healthy controls.

Oxidative stress is a type cellular damage that arises by an imbalance between the body’s production of potentially harmful reactive oxygen species and its ability to neutralize them. This process has been implicated in Parkinson’s-associated neurodegeneration.

Likewise, significantly higher levels of TNF-alpha, a marker of inflammation, and lower levels of homovanillic acid (HVA), one of the main metabolites of dopamine that indicates dopaminergic neuron loss, were evident in the disease model compared with control rats.

Lacosamide treatment considerably reduced MDA and of TNF-alpha levels, and boosted the levels of HVA in the animals’ brains.

“According to our results, lacosamide has a beneficial impact on HVA levels as well as neuron counts, indicating that it could be a good alternative for treating Parkinson’s disease (PD) by reducing the death of dopaminergic neurons,” the researchers wrote.

“Even though our findings are promising, we recognize that more preclinical and clinical research is necessary to completely assess lacosamide’s effectiveness” as a Parkinson’s treatment, they added.


Source: parkinsonsnewstoday.com, Patricia Inácio, PhD

Health ministry to help non-Seoul hospitals introduce epilepsy surgery robots

Health ministry to help non-Seoul hospitals introduce epilepsy surgery robots

The Ministry of Health and Welfare will subsidize one public and one private general hospital in the non-Seoul metro region capable of performing epilepsy surgery to introduce robotic equipment.

The ministry will receive applications from non-Seoul hospitals wanting to use surgical robots for epilepsy treatment until Aug. 7.

Epilepsy is one of the three major neurological diseases, along with dementia and stroke. It requires national attention due to social prejudice and high depression and anxiety among patients, the ministry said.

In particular, patients with intractable epilepsy who cannot be treated with medication need precision diagnostic treatment equipment. However, it added that the supply of private medical services is insufficient due to low profitability.

In May 2020, the ministry designated Samsung Medical Center (SMC) as an epilepsy support center. In April 2021, it supported robotic surgery equipment for epilepsy at the hospital. The government also provided Severance Hospital with precision diagnostic equipment for epilepsy in December last year.

The project aims to resolve medical blind spots by providing precision diagnosis, treatment, and surgical equipment to help patients with intractable epilepsy having difficulty receiving treatment in non-metropolitan areas.

Potential support recipients are one public and one private general hospital in non-metropolitan areas capable of performing epilepsy surgery. The ministry will subsidize the cost of introducing robotic equipment for epilepsy surgery with a budget of 700 million won ($546,000). However, the ministry will provide 70 percent of the cost, and the hospital must pay the other 30 percent.

The recipients must also have facilities and spaces suitable for deploying surgical robot equipment and be able to secure and manage equipment operation personnel. In particular, they must have an epilepsy surgery team, including neurosurgeons and pediatric neurologists.

The ministry will form a selection screening group of about seven officials comprising experts in related fields to select successful applicants.

Selected institutions must report their equipment purchase plans to the ministry before the purchase and submit another report within one month of completion.

Source: koreabiomed.com

Scientists Find the Source of a Mysterious Brain Wave That Could Boost Memory and Creativity

Scientists Find the Source of a Mysterious Brain Wave That Could Boost Memory and Creativity

The human brain is somewhat similar to a rudimentary radio with five channels. Electrical signals from neurons coordinate across the brain, generating oscillations known as brain waves. Each wave corresponds to a state of the brain. Some come fast and furious, with a high frequency usually associated with when we’re awake and thinking. Others are more relaxed, with a slower undulation that occurs during deep, restful sleep.

In a way, the brain switches channels as we go about our day to match our internal state of mind to outside requirements—though at any point, the channels can bleed over.

But there’s a mysterious outcast: a frequency called theta waves. They happen while we’re awake or asleep. For decades, these waves have taunted neuroscientists trying to decipher their functions. Theta waves seem to help mice navigate mazes, but also support memory in humans.

It’s not just academic curiosity. Our ability to navigate complex new environments and keep those memories declines with age. It’s especially tough for people with Alzheimer’s disease. By finding the source of theta waves, we could potentially enhance them—using neurostimulation or other methods—to slow cognitive decline.

A study in Neuron took a first step. Thanks to Xbox and some virtual mall shopping, a team led by Dr. Arne Ekstrom from the University of Arizona dug deep into what drives theta waves. The study recruited people with epilepsy who already had electrodes implanted into their brains to hunt down the source of seizures.

When imagining a previous route, the participants’ brains sparked with theta activity, a response far stronger than that elicited by simply navigating the route with an Xbox joystick.

The brain has a way of internally generating theta waves using memory, said the team.

An Ocean of Brain Waves

Our brains operate on multiple electrical frequencies. Using electroencephalography (EEG), we can record the speed and sequence of brain activity and capture its relative pace. Like calm or stormy, choppy waters, these brain oscillations rise and fall at different frequencies, each representing a different state of mind.

Beta waves, for example, spark when the brain is completely engaged—like when you’re intrigued by a conversation. Alpha waves are slower and usually present when you’re sitting down and ready for a rest.

Then there are theta waves. These waves are larger in amplitude and cycle even slower at 3 to 12 hertz per second. Earlier studies found that they pop up when you’re zoned out: during highway driving, on a long run, or in the shower. These waves are tentatively linked to creativity—ideas or solutions suddenly come to you—or when you’re daydreaming or meditating.

Despite decades of research, we still don’t really understand what they encode. While we’re awake theta waves are mostly found in the hippocampus, a brain region critical for both memory and navigation. So it’s no surprise that the waves appear in mice and rats as they try finding their way across complex mazes, suggesting they help integrate sensations and movement as the rodents explore a new environment.

What is surprising is that the waves also appear in completely still humans challenged with memorizing lists of words or pictures. One study found that the oscillations were critical for associating different concepts. In another, artificially enhancing theta waves with an off-the-shelf entrainment device—which uses a combination of sound and lights to stimulate certain brain wave bands—increased memory performance for recalling words in 50 volunteers.

There’s a direct link between theta activity and memory performance, the UC Davis team concluded at the time.

So what is it that theta waves do? Do they help guide us as we navigate the world? Or do they help us lay down precious memories?

The new study had the two theories go head-to-head.

A Digital Shopping Spree

The team started with a group of volunteers: 12 men and women with epilepsy who unfortunately didn’t respond to medication. Each already had up to 17 electrodes implanted in their brains to search for the source of seizures.

The task itself was one of my worst nightmares: navigating a mall. Here they did it virtually using an Xbox joystick, with the digital mall displayed on a laptop computer.

The first step was getting familiar with six different shopfronts and their locations—for example, an ice cream shop, camera store, and comic shop—like wandering around a new mall in person for the first time.

After two rounds, the volunteers were challenged with a navigation task. They were “teleported” to a random store in a first-person view, and were prompted with a message on the screen to find another store using the Xbox joystick. The trial ended after they navigated to every store.

Then came the memory task, and it was all hands off. The participant still started at a random storefront. Instead of using a joystick, they were instructed to mentally simulate the walk over to another target store—pressing “A” on the controller to indicate when they began and when they arrived. All the while, the graphics were gone, with only a tiny white cross on the screen for the volunteers to focus on. In all they performed 44 trials, with their brain activity monitored the entire time.

It’s hard to read what’s going on in a person’s head: are they actually mentally simulating the route or simply relaxing? The study added several guardrails. First, the volunteers had to successfully complete another mental navigation task, but in a familiar environment: they were instructed to imagine standing in their bedrooms at home and walking to their kitchens.

Next, the researchers cleverly inserted “catch trials.” Here, the participants used the controller to simulate their imagined routes during memory tasks, which helped ensure that they were actually remembering the route.

Finally, with a dose of statistics, the team found that the time it took for each participant to find a target store correlated between both tasks, suggesting they were imagining the same route rather than simply daydreaming.

The brain wave analyses came back with a clear answer. Both navigation and mental simulation sparked theta waves, becoming stronger as the trials progressed. However, simply remembering the route—without any movement—generated far larger waves that lasted longer. They found the same results regardless of whether analyzing each individual electrode or each volunteer.

It seems that memory is a far stronger driver of theta waves compared to simple navigation, said the team. Theta waves seem to naturally occur in the brain even without outside stimulation, supporting the idea that they’re internally generated in the brain and crucial for memory.

That’s great news. With memory closely knitted to theta waves, it’s possible to tap into the unique frequencies and improve memory during aging or in patients with dementia or other mental disorders. Researchers are already exploring different brain stimulation methods—from electrical to magnetic—with initially promising results.

But perhaps more broadly, the study adds to a recent trend that explores brain waves as a novel route for treating difficult neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s and stroke. Dozens are now in clinical trials. They may turn the tide for tackling previously uncrackable neurological disorders. Time will tell.


Source: singularityhub.com, Lucas Kapla

York firm work with well-known family to find perfect match for twins

York firm work with well-known family to find perfect match for twins

A YORK firm has been working with a renowned family in the disability and LGBTQIA+ community to help find them the perfect products for their autistic sons.

The well-known Atwal-Brice family visited the Get Cycling showroom in York to trial some inclusive cycles ahead of their Superhero Series triathlon this summer.

The family were amongst the first customers to trial the brand-new demo area that has recently been installed within the cycle shop. They also took the cycles out for a test ride around the local area to make sure they were all set up correctly and ready for their twins Levi and Lucas to get training for their upcoming triathlon.

Michael Atwal-Brice said: “We need to celebrate and promote places like Get Cycling that incorporate inclusion and accessibility of things other families may take for granted.

“We get asked so many times where the boys bikes are from and when out and about with them we often notice people staring, not at their disabilities, but at the joy and happiness the bikes bring them.”

The family said the boys are at their most content when out on the cycles, so having some that suit the family’s needs are “so important” to their everyday life.

Get Cycling have a wide range of cycles available, working with manufacturers and suppliers of specialist and conventional cycles throughout the world and can source or create almost any kind of adaption imaginable.

The Atwal-Brice family visited Get Cycling in York (Image: Supplied)

The family, as well as the team from Get Cycling, are working hard to raise awareness of the importance of making everyday things, like cycling, accessible for all and ensuring everybody no matter what is made to feel included.

Michael and Paul Atwal-Brice fathers to two sets of identical twins Levi Lucas Lotan and Lance live in South Yorkshire. The twins live with autism and epilepsy along with other disabilities.

The family have appeared on various television programs, news programmers and radio channels discussing topics including epilepsy, autism, same sex parenting, adoption and fostering.

They have built up a vast network of friends in the charity and media sector been ambassadors for Caudwell Children’s charity and My Afk charity’s working directly to help disabled children across the U.K.

The family focus on breaking down boundaries around disabilities and promoting equal rights. As charity ambassadors they work to improve the lives of children and adults living with disabilities and additional needs.

Paul was honored with a British Citizens award in 2019 in the Houses of Parliament Westminster honoring over two decades of work within charitable sector and was given the title BCAc.

Get Cycling CIC was founded in 2008 by a family with a passion for cycling and social inclusion and it remains today an independent retailer with the founders on the board.


Source: uk.sports.yahoo.com, Ed Horner

Brain Circuit Associated With Epilepsy Found in Mapped Lesions

Brain Circuit Associated With Epilepsy Found in Mapped Lesions

Lesion mapping led researchers to identify a common brain circuit related to epilepsy.

A new brain circuit found by mapping lesions related to epilepsy could have clinical implications for predicting a patient’s risk of epilepsy after brain damage, a study finds.

“We’re learning more and more about where in the brain epilepsy comes from and what brain circuits we need to modulate to treat patients with epilepsy,” lead author Frederic Schaper, MD, PhD, an instructor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and scientist at the Brigham and Women’s Center for Brain Circuit Therapeutics, said in a statement. “Using a wiring diagram of the human brain, lesion network mapping allows us to look beyond the individual lesion location and map its connected brain circuit.”

This case-control study was published in JAMA Neurology. To the researchers’ knowledge, the study is the first of its kind to investigate the association between lesion connectivity and epilepsy across different lesion causes.

Although focal epilepsy is known to affect more than 30 million individuals worldwide, it remains unclear why some lesions cause epilepsy and others do not. In this study, the researchers aimed to better understand whether lesion locations associated with epilepsy could be mapped to specific brain regions and networks.

Using a technique called lesion network mapping, the researchers studied 5 data sets of more than 1500 patients with brain lesions across the world, including centers in the United States: Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Northwestern University.

In total, the researchers identified 347 patients with epilepsy and 1126 without across all data sets analyzed from September 2018 to December 2022. Additionally, lesion locations were identified from 76 patients with postroke epilepsy and 625 patients with stroke.

Although lesions associated with epilepsy were found in multiple heterogenous locations across different lobes and vascular regions, these locations were part of a specific brain network of functional connectivity to the basal ganglia and cerebellum. These findings were then validated across 4 independent cohorts of 772 patients with brain lesions, in which 271 (35%) had epilepsy.

After validation, the researchers found that lesions connected to this brain circuit were associated with increased risk of epilepsy after stroke and across different lesion types.

Furthermore, the researchers analyzed the outcome of 30 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy who underwent deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment for seizures. As a result, these patients showed improved seizure control when the DBS site was connected to the same brain network identified by mapping lesions.

The researchers acknowledge several limitations to the study, such as focusing their study on a brain network from focal brain lesions, as it is unclear if the results would remain significant across other causes of focal epilepsy or generalized epilepsy. Additionally, lesion network mapping uses functional connectivity data from healthy patients to estimate the connectivity of the lesion location in the average brain, but functional connectivity may be altered in individuals with brain lesions or epilepsy and may change over time.

Despite these limitations, the researchers believe the study has the potential to help clinicians identify patients with high risk of epilepsy after brain damage and guide them to appropriate methods of treatment, such as DBS.

“Now we know more about what brain circuits may play a role in both the cause and control of epilepsy, this opens up promising opportunities to guide our therapies,” Schaper said in the statement. “Future clinical trials are needed to determine if this circuit can effectively guide brain stimulation treatment for epilepsy and benefit patients.”


Source: ajmc.com, Pearl Steinzor

Caregiving in functional seizures: “Isolated, alone, helpless”

Caregiving in functional seizures: “Isolated, alone, helpless”

Shannon Guinard had finally booked an appointment with Johns Hopkins Medicine, and she wasn’t going to let it go to waste.

Her husband, Eric, had been having seizures for about 16 years, but no one had been able to provide a diagnosis. Guinard believed his seizures were triggered by stress and was often frustrated during hospital visits when Eric was put in a medical bed to relax. He had never had a seizure that could be monitored during these appointments.

Armed with a shopping bag full of delinquent bills, Guinard accompanied Eric to the epilepsy clinic. Once Eric’s EEG was set up, she insisted that the nurse move him from the medical bed to a chair so he could be more alert.

“Then I threw this bag of bills at him, and I started arguing with him on purpose to aggravate him,” she said. “They all thought that I was absolutely crazy.”

But Guinard believes the stress she induced worked its magic — the next morning, Eric had a seizure. There was no EEG correlate to his episode; he was diagnosed with functional seizures, also called psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES).

Research shows care partners face mental, financial stress

Like people with epilepsy, people with functional seizures live with stigma, stress, and emotional and financial burdens — and so do their care partners.

Guinard has been caring for Eric since his seizures started more than 15 years ago. Their search for treatment has included years of MRIs, CT scans, EEGs, doctor’s appointments, overnight hospital stays, miles of travel, and even clinical attempts to induce seizures with shots of Tito’s. Answers finally seemed in sight when Eric had a seizure during the visit to Johns Hopkins — but there was no epileptic activity on his EEG.

“They did a full psych eval and told him he should go home and seek cognitive therapy,” said Guinard. “Which we did, and it never made a difference.”

A 2023 study found high levels of anxiety and depression in the care partners of people with functional seizures; 59% of care partners in the study showed symptoms of depression, anxiety, or both. A care partner’s depression levels are strongly correlated with those of the person they cared for, with specific demographic factors also playing a role.

A care partner’s responsibilities include scheduling and attending appointments, providing care after seizures, balancing care responsibilities with work, and sometimes just fighting to be heard. Care partners often are family members or spouses, which makes the experience emotionally draining.

People with functional seizures and their families also face significant financial stress. The 2023 study found that annual healthcare costs for people in the U.S. with functional seizures ranged from $110 to $920 million. A 2019 Danish study found that compared with families managing epilepsy, families dealing with functional seizures spent twice as much each year on direct and indirect costs associated with the condition.

The challenges of a care partner

Eric’s functional seizures started as blank stares and eventually progressed to full-body episodes. Guinard described the experience as exhausting and stressful.

“I’m not only worried about his health but also worried about our future,” she said.

To take care of their family, their finances, and Eric’s health, Guinard and her husband had to get creative. Guinard went back to school to become a social worker. After seizures prevented Eric from other work and from driving, he found his current job as a mechanic for Polaris, which has a shop not far from home. Finances are still a challenge because Eric hasn’t been able to obtain disability benefits.

Stigmatization in the clinic is an additional barrier, Guinard said. Some medical and mental health professionals, including Eric’s psychiatrist, have told him they don’t believe that functional seizures exist.  Others are aware of the condition but can’t seem to help them.

Functional seizures account for more than 10% of seizure emergencies and around 30% of visits to epilepsy monitoring units, but diagnosis is often missed or delayed.

“It’s frustrating because no one that we have ever seen has had expertise in this field,” Guinard said. “I think it’s just as frustrating for them as it is for us because they’re not familiar and they don’t know enough about it.”

Care partners and the treatment pathway

Guinard isn’t alone in her dissatisfaction with the system.

Amanda Hopper, executive director of FND Hope U.S., has been navigating the care system for functional seizures for about four years.

When her child, Mollie, was diagnosed with functional seizures at age 14, Hopper said the family was given no context or information about the condition. They were given the diagnosis and urged to seek psychotherapy without much more explanation.

Finding adequate treatment was one of the most difficult challenges of the journey, Hopper said. Many options did not address or accept both the psychological and physical aspects of functional seizures. Because of a lack of resources, Mollie became increasingly discouraged and depressed.

“As the care partner, it was so frustrating and maddening to have your child be dealing with an illness that there was no support for,” Hopper said.

Lack of resources and gaps between treatment and diagnosis are common. In the United States, most epilepsy centers do not provide treatment for functional seizures. In many other countries, no form of treatment is accessible.

Lorna Myers, a psychologist who specializes in functional seizures, said that physicians need more education on psychological illnesses.

“Anything psychological is treated as different and less than,” she said. “That is just unacceptable.”

Myers believes people with functional seizures need to be given more information and guidance beyond the diagnosis. When physicians don’t offer any further treatment, she said, the burden then falls on the care partner to educate themselves, make calls, and find accommodating programs.

To address this burden on families, Myers wrote a book for people with functional seizures and their loved ones. She also manages a blog about the condition and has another book, written for physicians, coming out soon.

Physician care for care partners

After many unsuccessful attempts, Hopper found a program that worked for Mollie, who now has more skills to manage her seizures. Mollie recently graduated high school; a feat that once seemed unlikely.

But the journey hasn’t been easy, and Hopper said care pathways and treatment pathways still have a long way to go.

“As a caregiver, I feel very isolated, very alone and very helpless,” she said.

Hopper believes finding other people to talk to about the diagnosis is essential. For her, FND Hope — which advocates for people with functional neurological disorder (FND), an umbrella diagnosis that includes functional seizures — provided a community of support, resources, and education.

Benjamin Tolchin, associate professor of Neurology at Yale School of Medicine, said he has referred care partners of people with functional seizures to general support groups, but that more specialized groups could be beneficial because of the specific challenges these care partners face throughout treatment.

“There’s this sort of balance between being a cheerleader and wanting to provide emotional support and logistical support,” Tolchin said. “But ultimately, it’s up to the patient to take that step and engage in the treatment.”

Physicians should communicate not only with the person with seizures but also with their family and the rest of their treatment team, Tolchin said. Clinicians should affirm that the seizures are real, explain the diagnosis clearly and empathetically, and have a direct conversation with the healthcare professional who is providing further treatment.

Physicians also can urge care partners to seek treatment for themselves and could go as far as screening them for depression and anxiety during appointments, said Tolchin.

Guinard sought help for herself and now takes medication for anxiety.

“It’s definitely very stressful,” she said. “A lot of worry, in more than one way. It’s so hard to get people to hear you and listen to you.”


Source: newswise.com, Joy Mazur, Epigraph intern

I felt like there was someone in my head, and it wasn’t me.

I felt like there was someone in my head, and it wasn’t me.

UNESCO is leading a global conversation on how best to regulate the Neurotechnology industry. This emerging sector is still something of a ‘black box’. Little is known about how decoding and manipulating our brains might impact us. There is a risk it may even fundamentally distort our sense of personal autonomy.

In the last two decades Neurotechnologists have made important advances which enable them to help sufferers of treatment-resistant epilepsy, live with their condition. Since the early 2000s clinical trials of devices which issue a warning signal when they detect that an epilepsy attack is imminent have been conducted. This signal allows the sufferer time to lie down on a bed or sofa, to ensure they are not badly hurt or injured when the physical convulsions of the epilepsy attack begins.

The device is comprised of a silicone strip covered in electrodes which sits on the surface of the patient’s brain and is connected by wires laid under the skin to a machine implanted in the patient’s chest which records data on neural activity, and can then issue a warning beep when it detects the coming of an attack.

When the trials began, many epilepsy sufferers volunteered to act as guinea pigs for the trials of these devices, excited about the life-changing possibilities of such a scientific breakthrough.

But although allowing epileptics control over their own personal safety is a highly desirable outcome, it can also come at a cost to the individual. Some who have taken part in clinical trials report a loss of personal identity and autonomy which can be profoundly disturbing.

Hannah Galvin’s story sheds some light on this issue

Hannah was 16 when she developed epilepsy. Her seizures became so strong that she was forced to give up on her dream of becoming a ballet dancer. To regain control of her life, she opted to have an invasive neurological device installed inside her skull on the surface of her brain. But the device didn’t behave as she expected, and she soon felt she had ‘someone inside her head.’

When do you first hear there could be treatment that included neurotechnology?

I still wanted to be a ballet dancer. I would have jumped at anything, just for the opportunity to get my dance career happening again. The brain operation was supposed to fix me. It was an EEG (electroencephalogram), but on the brain, not just on your head. Then there was a tube down your throat to a device in your chest that would gather the data. And there was another a device outside the body that had three lights that would beep and flash red before a seizure. So you knew when it’s time to go and lie on a couch.

What were your first impressions when you had it fitted?

I didn’t like it from the get go, because it was flashing too much for me. I didn’t realize how many seizures I was having. The device would beep for me every two seconds. The red light went on, I’d take the device out and turn it off, and it just went off again. It made me depressed at university. I didn’t tell any of my lecturers that I had it, I started hiding my epilepsy. And the depression got worse and worse and worse.

I felt like there was someone in my head, and it wasn’t me. And I just got more and more depressed. I didn’t like it at all.

When did you think about getting it removed?

I didn’t believe that it was working, because it was going off all the time. I went into hospital, and they checked it, and the device was fine. That’s when they realized how many seizures I was actually having. When I realized I was having more than 100 seizures a day, I wanted to throw the thing out the window. I just hated it, and wanted it gone.

With the amount of time it was going off for me, I felt like I had two choices. I could follow the device and rent a hospital bed for life and just lie down forever. Because that’s what this device is saying, my life has gone. Or I could throw it out the window and say, I’m going to live my life still, and have a few seizures along the way, but have a life as well.

What advice would you have for other epilepsy patients who are considering neurotechnological treatments?

I would really say to someone who had epilepsy as badly as me, it’s not the right thing for you. It will just make you feel like it’s not worth living a real life anymore. I think that there  needs to be a bigger conversation about the negativity. And there needs to be a lot more said before somebody makes that decision.

But I would say I’ve heard positive stories as well, from people who felt the treatment changed their lives. For someone who has one seizure every three months, I feel maybe it would help because they could go and sit on a couch. But if you’re having as many seizures as me, you’ve got to think of the negatives as well. You’re going to just constantly, suddenly have had this sound coming out of you. You’re constantly going to have a someone in your head, and it’s not you.


Source: unesco.org