Do absence seizures happen during sleep?

Do absence seizures happen during sleep?

Lack of sleep can trigger an absence seizure. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. Keep your room dark and quiet. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are having trouble sleeping.

What are signs of nocturnal seizures? General Symptoms. The symptoms of nocturnal seizures include daytime sleepiness, confusion, attention difficulties, migraines and more. These symptoms can affect people’s quality of life and lead to increased sleep deprivation with more symptoms. Those with epilepsy may have nocturnal seizures only and their associated symptoms.

What causes seizures in Your Sleep? Seizures caused by epilepsy that occur during the night are common, as sleep seems to trigger the electrical responses that are responsible for them. In fact, some individuals with epilepsy experience their convulsions almost solely during their sleep cycles, never even realizing that they are occurring.

Does anyone have seizures when falling asleep? Nocturnal seizures happen when a person is sleeping. They are most common: Right after falling asleep; Just before waking up; Soon after waking up; Any seizure can occur during sleep. However, there are certain seizure conditions that are more likely to experience nocturnal seizures, including: Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy; Awakening tonic-clonic (grand mal)

Why do seizures happen during sleep? It’s believed that sleep seizures are triggered by changes in the electrical activity in your brain during certain stages of sleeping and waking. Most nocturnal seizures occur in stage 1 and stage 2, which are moments of lighter sleep. Nocturnal seizures can also occur upon waking.

What are the causes of night seizures?

What are the causes of night seizures? Night seizures may be triggered by a sudden surge of fever. It’s pretty clear when this is the case because a child usually is flushed red and hot to the touch. But when there’s no obvious reason for a night seizure, the cause may be benign rolandic epilepsy (also called benign focal epilepsy of childhood).

What are the signs of epilepsy? Though seizures are the main symptom of all types of epilepsy, the full scope of epilepsy symptoms and signs varies. Common symptoms include muscle jerking and contractions, brief loss of consciousness or awareness, weakness, anxiety, and staring.

What are symptoms of seizures? Seizures are changes in the brain’s electrical activity. These changes can cause dramatic, noticeable symptoms, or in other cases no symptoms at all. The symptoms of a severe seizure include violent shaking and a loss of control.

 

Source: dane101.com

Great Southern mum helps save toddler after epileptic seizure on Narrikup farm

Great Southern mum helps save toddler after epileptic seizure on Narrikup farm

South coast WA sheep farmer and mother-of-three Kate Mitchell knew her son may be in danger after hearing the following six words.

“Mummy, mummy come look at Darcy,” her four-year-old son Harry had said.

At first, she thought her children were just being “ratbags”.

Perhaps they’d taken off all their clothes or scribbled on the wall, she thought to herself.

But what she found was far more gut-wrenching and every parent’s worst nightmare.

Her one-year-old son Darcy was lying on the floor. And he was blue.

Her usually bubbly young toddler was unresponsive and frothing at the mouth.

Ms Mitchell scooped him up and ran to her kitchen where she got her father-in-law Ross to call an ambulance.

She feared Darcy had choked on something and began back blows before commencing CPR.

“At that point, it felt like an eternity, but colour started to come back to his cheeks — he was very, very blue,” Ms Mitchell told ABC.

They put Darcy in their ute and decided to try to meet the Mount Barker ambulance service along the way to save time.

A long way from help

The Mitchells live on a farm in Narrikup, about 50 kilometres north-west of Albany and 400km south-east of Perth.

The area is plagued with poor phone reception and Ms Mitchell remembers telling the triple-0 phone operator that she had not hung up on them and it was indeed just bad coverage.

They also copped a speeding fine on the way, but Ms Mitchell says it was later overturned.

She saw police officers on the drive and managed to use them to help flag down the ambulance.

“I had no shoes, I stunk like sheep yards, it was pretty rancid,” Ms Mitchell said.

When the ambulance arrived, Ms Mitchell recognized one of the paramedics as her husband’s former next-door neighbor.

“I knew that day that we had a guardian angel, it is tricky enough to hand your child over, but [luckily she] was there,” Ms Mitchell said.

Darcy was taken to hospital but was sent home a few days later without a diagnosis.

Two weeks later, it happened again.

The Mitchells put Darcy back into the ute, this time beating the ambulance, and headed to the hospital again.

There he had his worst and longest seizure yet.

“He was scared, his eyes were stuck and he was just screaming,” she said.

“We were beside ourselves but tried to keep it together.”

Darcy was flown to Perth for more specialized treatment.

He was diagnosed with childhood focal epilepsy — a brain condition that causes seizures.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, one in every 200 children has the disorder.

Ms Mitchell said following Darcy’s first seizure in February, Harry had described him as doing a “flippy, floppy fish dance”.

She said that was the first clue that maybe Darcy had an underlying health condition such as epilepsy.

There is no cure for the condition and the toddler now takes medication to help prevent seizures.

Although rare, epilepsy can be fatal.

Gift bags for other families

Ms Mitchell described her son as a “boisterous, little bubbly boy”.

She has even had to put a lock on the farm gate because Darcy liked to wander down to the sheep.

The mother-of-three wanted to do something to raise awareness about epilepsy and after being in and out of hospital with her son, she decided to create gift bags for families like theirs.

The gift bags contain items such as a toothbrush, soap and slippers for families who live rurally and can’t go home for supplies during unexpected hospital trips.

It was inspired by her experience of turning up to the hospital with no supplies — stinking of sheep — post farm work.

The bags also come with toys for the children, as many of the hospital’s toys were locked away due to COVID protocols.

The bags have been distributed across the country and Ms Mitchell has created a group called The Darcy Effect where people can donate items too.

She said it was all about giving back and helping those in need.

 

Source: abc.net.au

STATE SENATOR ILEANA GARCIA GRANTED $500,000 TO RENOWNED NICKLAUS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL BRAIN INSTITUTE FOR PEDIATRIC EPILEPSY CARE & TREATMENT PROGRAM

STATE SENATOR ILEANA GARCIA GRANTED $500,000 TO RENOWNED NICKLAUS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL BRAIN INSTITUTE FOR PEDIATRIC EPILEPSY CARE & TREATMENT PROGRAM

Miami, FL —

 On Wednesday, September 7th, 2022, the cutting-edge Brain Institute for Pediatric Epilepsy Care & Treatment Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital received a total of $500,000 thanks to the legislative efforts of State Senator Ileana Garcia this past congressional session. As one of the nation’s most premier and enduring comprehensive epilepsy programs for children, this funding is vital towards investing in groundbreaking medical technology and novel intervention for youth suffering from seizures.

Each year, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital welcomes thousands of patients from across the country and over the world that are referred to the notable treatment program in South Florida searching for innovative therapeutic solutions related to epilepsy. Even in the event that a child is struggling with seizures that cannot be regulated medically, Nicklaus has proven itself among the most specialized and internationally recognized in pediatric epilepsy surgery that focuses on using the least invasive methods like MRI guided laser ablation.

Another of the technological advancements that do not rely on aggressively invasive methods applied at Nicklaus in order to accurately localize and analyze seizure activity has been through the precise use of Electrical Source Imaging (ESI) which is part of the ingenious Compumedics High Density Electro-Encephalogram (EEG) System. These pieces of breakthrough equipment are irreplaceable when it comes to pinpointing convulsions within the brain whilst identifying specific seizure onset zone prompts. This paves the way for accurate diagnosis leading to individualized treatment plans, combined with other imaging diagnostics, and any other impending surgical requirements recommended by specialists.

The cause has a special connection to Senator Garcia as she stated: “As someone who grew up with epilepsy, I know the significant impact this will make when diagnosing and treating patients with epilepsy and other seizure related issues in our community.”

 

Source: flsenate.gov

Scientists Have Long Dreamed of a Memory Prosthesis. The First Human Trials Look Promising

Scientists Have Long Dreamed of a Memory Prosthesis. The First Human Trials Look Promising

Memories are finicky. I’ve been touring Atlantic Canada for the past three weeks, and already my recollection of the trip—dates, places, foods, adventures—doesn’t match up with pins on Google Maps or journal entries. My brain was learning new experiences and encoding memories—just not strongly enough to last even a week.

Memory retention gets worse with age. For people with brain injuries, such as from a stroke or physical trauma to the brain, the impairment can be utterly debilitating. What if there was a way to artificially boost the brain’s ability to retain memories?

The idea sounds like a Black Mirror episode. But this month, a new study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience provided some of the first evidence that a “memory prosthetic” is possible in humans. The prosthetic isn’t a device; rather, it’s a series of electrodes implanted inside the hippocampus—a structure buried deep within the brain that’s critical for episodic memories—that encodes the when, where, and what of our daily experiences.

The setup relies on an utterly unromantic view of memory. Rather than the waves of rich, detailed, emotional memories that flood our brains, it holds that memories are simply electrical signals generated by a well-regulated neural highway inside the hippocampus. If we can capture these signals while a person is learning, then in theory we could play the recordings back to the brain—in the form of electrical zaps—and potentially boost that particular memory.

The team built on their previous work of engineering memory prosthetics. In people with epilepsy, they showed that by re-introducing neural signals encoding one type of memory in a specific task, the zaps boosted recall by over 50 percent.

The study involved a small cohort. But incredibly, those who suffered from previous memory loss showed the best improvements.

To be clear, the team did not develop a video camera for memory. The system partially mimics the hippocampus’ normal process for memory encoding and recall, which can be notoriously subjective and somewhat unreliable. A similar memory prosthetic might not work well in the real world, where we’re constantly bombarded with new experiences and memories.

That said, the study shows a way to help people with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other causes of memory loss retain snippets of their lives that could otherwise be lost.

“It’s a glimpse into the future of what we might be able to do to restore memory,” said Dr. Kim Shapiro at the University of Birmingham, who was not involved in the study, to MIT Technology Review.

How Does It Work?

It all comes down to the electrical pulses surrounding the hippocampus and within it.

Let’s zoom in. The hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure, is often described as a monolithic hub for memories. But—insert food analogy—rather than a uniform block of cheese, it’s more like a multi-layered cheese dip, with electrical pulses flowing through different layers as it encodes, retains, and recalls memories.

For the memory prosthetic, the team focused on two specific regions: CA1 and CA3, which form a highly interconnected neural circuit. Decades of work in rodents, primates, and humans have pointed to this neural highway as the crux for encoding memories.

The team members, led by Drs. Dong Song from the University of Southern California and Robert Hampson at Wake Forest School of Medicine, are no strangers to memory prosthetics. With “memory bioengineer” Dr. Theodore Berger—who’s worked on hijacking the CA3-CA1 circuit for memory improvement for over three decades—the dream team had their first success in humans in 2015.

The central idea is simple: replicate the hippocampus’ signals with a digital replacement. It’s no easy task. Unlike computer circuits, neural circuits are non-linear. This means that signals are often extremely noisy and overlap in time, which bolsters—or inhibits—neural signals. As Berger said at the time: “It’s a chaotic black box.”

To crack the memory code, the team worked out two algorithms. The first, called memory decoding model (MDM), takes an average of the electrical patterns across multiple people as they form memories. The other, called multi-input, multi-output (MIMO), is a tad more sophisticated, as it incorporates both input and output electrical patterns—that is, the CA3-CA1 circuit—and mimics those signals in both space and timing. In theory, pulsing both electrical signals based on MDM and MIMO back into the hippocampus should give it a boost.

In a series of experiments, first in rats and monkeys, then in healthy humans, the team found that their memory prosthetics could improve memory when neural circuits were temporarily disrupted, such as with drugs. But bypassing injured circuits isn’t enough—what they wanted was a true memory prosthetic that could replace the hippocampus if damaged.

A Whole New World

The new study benefited from a valuable neuroscience resource: people with epilepsy who have electrodes implanted into memory-related regions of their brains. The implants, deep inside the brain, help neurosurgeons track down the source of peoples’ seizures. Among the 25 participants selected, some did not exhibit symptoms other than epilepsy, whereas others had mild to moderate brain injuries.

Here’s the test. The participants were shown an image on a screen, then after a delay, they were shown the same image with up to seven different alternatives. Their goal was to pick out the familiar image. Each participant rapidly cycled through 100-150 trials, during which their hippocampal activity was recorded to capture their short-term memory.

After at least 15 minutes, the participants were shown 3 images and asked to rank the familiarity of each. It’s a tricky task: one was a sample image from the trial, another an alternative that seemed familiar, and one never previously seen. This was intended to capture their long-term memory.

Flash forward. One day between removing the electrodes, the participants underwent another round of memory tests similar to the ones before. Some people received electrical stimulation based on their own neural signals, processed by either the MDM or MIMO algorithm. Others were zapped with random pulses. The last group received no stimulation at all.

Overall, stimulating the brains of people with epilepsy boosted memory performance by roughly 15 percent. Those pulsed with MDM—which uses the averaged electrical signals—had a measly 13.8 percent boost. In contrast, the MIMO model, which mimics neural signals of each hippocampi, made their performance improve by 36 percent.

“Irrespective of baseline memory function (impaired vs. normal), the MIMO model produces at least double the facilitation compared to the MDM model,” the team said.

The Long Road Ahead

While promising, the study is just the next small step towards a hippocampal prosthetic. Because the participants had their electrodes removed following the second test, we don’t know whether—nor for how long—the effects lasted, or if continuous stimulation is necessary.

While a memory prosthetic could benefit people with Alzheimer’s, lots more details need to be ironed out. The electrode setup here is relatively crude—would a microarray or a non-invasive device be possible? If so, should the device be turned on 24/7? After all, we don’t remember all of our memories—there’s a sort of synaptic “purging” that’s thought to occur during sleep.

For now, the technology is far from being ready for clinical use. But it’s a glimpse of what could be. At the very least the study shows that, similar to a brain-controlled prosthetic limb, a memory chip isn’t impossible for people who need it the most.

 

Source: singularityhub.com, Shelly Fan

Advice On How To Get Rid Of Anxiety In Your Life

Advice On How To Get Rid Of Anxiety In Your Life

Many epileptics report feeling anxious after an episode.

Because of brain chemicals released during seizures, some people may experience unusually high levels of anxiety. Fear and anxiety have been mentioned as emotional side effects in those who take anti-seizure medication.

The stress of persistent concern may weaken you. Anxiety can strike at any time, even in the midst of a pleasurable activity. If this makes you unhappy, you should probably call it a day. This essay will provide you with helpful hints that you can utilize to permanently erase your worry.

If you start to feel nervous, go for a walk and see if it helps. Exercise increases the creation of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which improves mood and happiness. Get active; it’s one of the finest ways to relieve tension.

Maintaining a regular eating schedule is vital, but it is critical if you suffer from panic attacks.

Stop your prolonged fast immediately. Your blood sugar levels will be easier to control, and your anxiety attacks will be milder. By keeping a healthy snack on hand, you can keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Keep doing what you’ve always done and don’t change. Some people believe that being alone emotionally drains them. Keep yourself busy to avoid reflecting on the negative things that have transpired. You won’t have as much time to worry if your schedule is strict.

Preventing problems from arising in the first place is quite important while dealing with the stresses of daily life.

To relieve stress when time is of the importance, get a head start on a project at work or school. These techniques can assist you in maintaining a cheerful attitude.

Speak with a family member or a close friend whose loyalty you can rely on. This individual could act as a “sounding board” for you to discuss your worries and troubles with a third party. Instead of suppressing your emotions, talk about them with a close friend or relative. It will only make things more difficult for you if you pretend that everything is OK when it is not.

Everyone on Earth has felt the chilly grasp of dread at some point.

When we feel danger, our bodies tighten and our heart rates raise reflexively. As a result, it is easier to focus on specific goals.

If you’re concerned about your mental health after going through a stressful time, you should get assistance. Talk to your doctor over the phone about your feelings. You should expect the exam to include a number of questions geared to elicit as much information about your present health and past medical history as feasible.

A variety of tests can be performed to rule out any physical causes.

They’ll want to know how long you’ve been sick and what changes to your schedule you’ve had to make as a result. To understand more about the exact type of anxiety you are experiencing, your doctor can examine the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Those who are anxious can benefit from talking to a therapist. Doctors may advise patients to use medicine to relieve symptoms for a brief time or for the rest of their lives. Specific medications can help to reduce the physiological consequences of anxiety. Beta-blockers, which are commonly taken to treat cardiac problems, have also been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety.

Anxiety problems are increasingly being treated with behavioral therapy.

Patients benefit from treatment because they learn to detect and control their symptoms on their own. They develop self-control and how to rely only on themselves over time and effort.

Anti-anxiety drugs may be effective, but they carry a significant risk of addiction and can be difficult to discontinue. Patients with epilepsy should be cautious when taking anti-seizure medications, as some of these medications may also have anti-anxiety qualities. Anxiety is common in epilepsy patients. Seizure fear is frequently a contributing cause.

In addition to physical symptoms, those suffering from this illness may face social isolation and mental distress. Making friends with the locals is more crucial than ever. The extent to which the mind and brain contribute to the development of anxiety is currently being debated. The public’s perception of people with epilepsy is not always favorable.

Anxiety is a common side effect of epilepsy.

It’s vital to understand what makes epileptics anxious. As a result, we were able to assess our patients’ anxiousness.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of anxiety and its accompanying symptoms.

Patients with epilepsy are more likely than the general population to suffer from emotional disturbance. It is widely accepted that those suffering from severe anxiety disorders are more likely to be miserable in general. The good news is that these disorders are effectively treated by contemporary medicine. With additional information, these individuals may be able to receive better diagnosis and treatments. To treat anxiety and epilepsy, pregabalin is available in three capsule strengths: Generic Lyrica 300 mgPregalin 150mg, and Pregalin 50mg.

Achieving an attainable and tangible objective has been shown in multiple studies to alleviate anxiety.

Setting weekly objectives and working toward them is the most effective method to ensure that you give your all every day. You can put your day’s troubles behind you by busy your mind. You can significantly enhance your life if you are prepared to put in the effort.

Some people discover that fasting is an excellent way to relax. Caffeinated beverages, processed foods manufactured with white flour, and foods high in added sugar should all be avoided because they are unhealthy. There’s a good probability they’ll find a way to make things tough for you.

You should take any anti-anxiety medication prescribed by your doctor on a daily basis, preferably at the same time. You might keep it in the medicine cabinet or a drawer in the bathroom. Many medications require consistent administration over an extended period of time to act properly.

It is advisable to communicate your concerns with a close friend or family member rather than keep them to yourself. Sharing your feelings with a close friend or family member can be a terrific approach to receive their perspective on the situation and the motivation you need to stay positive. You may find that doing so slightly relaxes you.

Exercise is a wonderful technique to relieve anxiety since the physical demands of exercise lower cortisol levels.

Try going for a short walk or participating in some mild exercise if stress leaves you feeling physically spent. Soon, satisfaction and calm will pervade every facet of your existence.

If stress or anxiety are preventing you from acting, try shifting your perspective on life. Thinking optimistically may assist you in overcoming any leftover blues. You have perfect command over your mind. As a result, you’ll feel less pressure, making it easier to focus on your current activity.

Homoeopathic approaches may provide relief for persons suffering from anxiety who are hesitant to seek pharmacological treatment. They are available in the vast majority of retailers that have an organic department. If you’ve tried traditional medicine without success, you might want to see a homoeopath.

Avoiding folks who are continuously nasty toward you can help you reduce your stress.

Also, avoid those who continually criticize you and have low self-esteem. People who continuously criticize others will make you feel inadequate.

Never let fear prevent you from doing something that you enjoy. The choice that most aligns with your fundamental ideas should be chosen. It serves no reason to continue living an unhappy existence. Please feel free to return and read this essay again if necessary. If you wish to conquer your phobias, you should attentively study this article and put its suggestions into action.

 

Source: dailyhover.com, KishtiRoy

Teen overcomes epilepsy, begins new chapter at Baylor

Teen overcomes epilepsy, begins new chapter at Baylor

Since her diagnosis with epilepsy, going back to school has always looked a little different for Isla Ritchie.

Now as a college freshman, she’s having to perform all her back to school responsibilities all by herself.

“People would say, ‘I know how you feel,’ but they really wouldn’t understand how difficult it was to have a seizure a day,” she said.

At the age of eleven, Isla was diagnosed with epilepsy. A year later, after trying out multiple treatment options, she found a solution that worked for her.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) therapy helps calm down her brain activity every 30 seconds to prevent seizures.

After she got the VNS device, it became her mission to help her classmates better understand what to do during a seizure.

“(In middle school) I dropped to the ground and almost hit my head on a cabinet or chair,” Isla said. “One of the guys moved all the chairs and called the nurse. They did all the correct things they were supposed to do.”

Flash forward to 2022, she’s now starting her freshman year at Baylor and teaching others like her roommates about her condition.

“When I told them they were like ‘I’m sorry about this,’ like, don’t be sorry,” Isla said. “They fully supported me and wanted to know what to do if I had a seizure.”

Isla is now on her own, filling her own prescriptions and attending doctor appointments. Her mom Lisa Ritchie couldn’t be prouder.

“A few years ago I never would’ve thought this was going to be an option for her,” Lisa said.

At her dream school Isla is fulfilling a dream she never thought possible.

“It’s been amazing,” Isla said. “I’ve met so many people – people in my class, people in clubs I’ve joined. And they’re all here to support me through what I’ve been through and what I have.”

This Saturday marks three years since a teen with epilepsy had her last seizure.

 

Source: kwtx.com, Alex Fulton

Things That Can Trigger a Seizure Even If You Don’t Have Epilepsy

Things That Can Trigger a Seizure Even If You Don’t Have Epilepsy

Seizures don’t just happen with epilepsy. Here’s what can trigger a seizure —from stress to lack of sleep and more.

Having a seizure doesn’t necessarily mean you have epilepsy. A seizure is a sudden attack of brain activity that typically lasts a few seconds or minutes. It can cause muscle spasms (convulsions), as well as confusion, loss of consciousness, and other symptoms.

Epilepsy is a group of brain disorders that cause seizures. You can be diagnosed with epilepsy after having two or more unprovoked seizures within 24 hours of each other. This means the seizures weren’t triggered by anything.

But it’s also possible for someone to have seizures yet not have epilepsy. The seizures may be less frequent. For example, some people may only have one seizure in their lifetime. In other cases, there may be a known factor that provoked the seizure. In general, certain health factors can trigger a seizure. These include excess stress, low blood sugar, lack of sleep, and medication side effects, among others.

Seizure Triggers

About 1 in 10 people will experience a seizure in their lifetime. Seizures and epilepsy can often arise after a brain injury, brain tumor, or stroke (blockage, bursting, or leaking of brain blood vessels). Here are other health factors that can provoke seizures.

Lack of sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for your health. It helps your brain process memories and things you’ve learned. But some people can have seizures that disrupt their sleep. Having a nighttime seizure may be a sign of a sleep disorder or epilepsy. If you have epilepsy, it may be likely that you have a sleep disorder too.

But can lack of sleep cause a seizure? While sleep deprivation isn’t the sole cause of a seizure, experts know that sleep and seizures have a two-way relationship: Just as seizures can interrupt sleep, a frequent lack of sleep can trigger a seizure or lead to worse seizures.

Stress

Stress can trigger seizures, though the reason isn’t entirely clear. But experts know that the hippocampus—a part of the brain involved in learning and memory—is sensitive to stress and helps manage it. Stress is linked to increased brain activity in this region, which could set off a seizure. For people with epilepsy, stress is one of the most common seizure triggers.

Also, stress can lead to non-epileptic seizures (NES). These seizures might happen from psychological distress, mental trauma, or certain brain conditions, such as narcolepsy (a sleep disorder) or Tourette syndrome (a disorder of sudden repeated movements and sounds).

About 5% to 20% of people with epilepsy may actually have NES. Unlike epileptic seizures, an NES affects the brain differently and can’t be treated with anti-seizure medications. Instead, they can be managed through therapy and reducing stress.

Low blood sugar

Hypoglycemia, or having too low sugar levels in your blood, can provoke changes in your brain activity, leading to seizures. It can also cause strokes, which are linked to seizures.

Several factors can cause someone to have low blood sugar. For example, people with diabetes who are taking insulin can have low blood sugar, especially after exercising. In people without diabetes, low blood sugar can happen from drinking alcohol, hormone deficiencies, severe life-threatening infections (sepsis), or severe heart, kidney, or liver failure.

Heatstroke

Too much sun exposure and extreme heat can cause heatstroke. Your usual body temperature of about 98 degrees Fahrenheit climbs to over 106 degrees F within 15 minutes. This overheating might also affect your brain. For example, symptoms of heatstroke include seizures, along with slurred speech, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is a potentially fatal condition and requires immediate medical attention.

Alcohol withdrawal

Long-term, regular alcohol use can lead to addiction and dependency. Suddenly stopping alcohol use can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, jumpiness, and fatigue. These symptoms usually peak within 24 to 72 hours of stopping alcohol use and can last for a few days or weeks.8

Severe cases of alcohol withdrawal can develop into a state of delirium tremens, which can result in seizures, agitation, hallucinations, and severe confusion. This may require treatment at a hospital or specialized care facility.

High fever

A febrile seizure is a seizure that happens with a high fever during an illness or infection. It typically affects children, toddlers, or infants. Though the exact cause of febrile seizures is unknown, some people may have a genetic predisposition for developing them.

Usually there is a low chance of having repeat febrile seizures. But certain factors can increase your risk of having more than one febrile seizure. This includes a family history of epilepsy, prior brain or nerve damage, or a medical history of prolonged seizures.

Medication side effects

Seizures can be a serious side effect of certain medications and drug intoxication. Researchers have found that 9% of status epilepticus—life-threatening seizures that last longer than five minutes—can be linked to drugs or poisoning.

Several legal and illegal substances can cause seizures. The most commonly reported are:

  • Antidepressants
  • Stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine
  • Diphenhydramine, an allergy medication
  • Tramadol, a painkiller
  • Isoniazid, an antibiotic

Prior to taking any medication, be sure you understand the potential risks and be mindful of symptoms. Seek medical attention if you are experiencing any severe side effects.

Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can happen when a physical injury damages the tissues of the brain. This could be a head injury from a fall, sports activity, or a car accident. A concussion can be a mild type of TBI.

TBIs can lead to seizures, as well as headache, loss of consciousness, confusion, speech and memory difficulties, mood changes, and other symptoms. TBIs usually require immediate medical attention, especially within 24 hours of the injury. Severe cases can cause permanent disability or be potentially fatal.

Seizures might occur within the first week of a TBI. This can lead to developing a type of epilepsy later on known as post-traumatic epilepsy. But some people could also develop more isolated, post-traumatic seizures after a TBI.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

While seizure symptoms like convulsions and loss of consciousness can be very alarming, not every seizure may be a medical emergency. However, it’s essential to get emergency help if you or someone you see experiences:

  • A first seizure
  • Difficulty breathing or regaining consciousness
  • Seizure longer than five minutes
  • A second seizure shortly after the first
  • Injury due to the seizure
  • The seizure occurs while in the water
  • Seizure alongside diabetes, heart disease, or during pregnancy

If you’re concerned about these symptoms and are experiencing them, talk to your healthcare provider. If you know someone who experiences seizures, learn about emergency steps to take if they have a seizure.

Recap

Seizures are surges of brain activity that cause convulsions and other involuntary symptoms. They are a sign of epilepsy and can often happen after a stroke. However, seizures can also occur for people who don’t have epilepsy. Other factors that can trigger a seizure include a lack of sleep, stress, medications, and alcohol withdrawal.

If you suspect you have epilepsy or are experiencing seizures, consult a medical professional for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention methods. The sooner you act, the better off you’ll be.

 

Source: health.com, Mark Gurarie

24-Year-Old Prodigy Kalani David Suffers Fatal Seizure While Surfing

24-Year-Old Prodigy Kalani David Suffers Fatal Seizure While Surfing

David had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. He had his first seizure while skating with friends in 2016, with the episode briefly stopping his heart.

Kalani David, a rising star in the surfing and skating worlds, died in Costa Rica on Saturday after suffering a seizure while riding the waves. He was 24.

The news was first reported by The Inertia. It was seemingly confirmed by David’s younger brother, Keoni, who posted to his Instagram story: “You are the best brother I could ever ask for. I will miss you Kalani.”

Born and raised on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii, David was born with a surfboard in one hand and a skateboard in the other, and by 14 years old, he was already considered “a seasoned veteran,” as his X-Games biography put it. In 2012, he won one of the first of his many major accolades, clinching a gold medal at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Panama.

The 24-year-old also had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a congenital heart condition where an extra electrical pathway can cause an abnormally—sometimes dangerously—rapid heartbeat. In some patients, it causes seizure which, while not always fatal, often involve a loss of consciousness, something particularly dangerous in the ocean.

David suffered his first seizure in August 2016 while skating with friends at a park in Oceanside, California. Then 18 years old, he later reported on Instagram that he “fell on my face and woke up in an ambulance.” The episode briefly stopped his heart and triggered three more seizures in the hospital. “So grateful to be alive!” David wrote.

Months later—just before Christmas—David had another seizure in Oahu, Hawaii. The episode came on in the middle of the night, and he later posted to Instagram that he was “lucky to even be alive” after seizing for roughly six hours before friends found him. He spent two days in a medically-induced coma, and had surgery performed weeks later to get an extra muscle on his heart removed, or “burned,” as he put it.

For David, giving up either of his two loves was never an option. “If it was life or death, and I had to choose skating or surfing,” he told Stab magazine in 2016, “I’d choose death.”

Tributes to the young phenom flooded in after reports of his death began to surface on Saturday. Peter King, a surf photographer and filmmaker, was one of the first to memorialize David. “I’ll always remember your stoke when we’d shoot skate n surf and how much hope you had for you future [sic],” he wrote.

In mourning David’s death, Freesurf magazine called him “indeed a child prodigy” with “literally hundreds if not thousands of trophies.” The outlet noted in a Facebook post that it had been “following his career for at least 15 years. Maybe since kindergarten?”

“Kalani was one of the most talented ever surfer/skaters on earth,” surfing legend Kelly Slater wrote on his Instagram story, “constantly pushing the limits every time he was on his feet.”

 

Source: thedailybeast.com, AJ McDougall

Avicanna collaborates with University of Toronto to expand its epilepsy research program

Avicanna collaborates with University of Toronto to expand its epilepsy research program

The commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company said Dr Mac Burnham’s team will explore efficacy of Avicanna’s drug candidates and its proprietary combination of cannabinoids in a pre-clinical model for seizures

Avicanna Inc (TSX:AVCN, OTCQX:AVCNF) announced that it has expanded its research collaboration in field of epilepsy through a new partnership with the University of Toronto and Dr Mac Burnham’s research team to explore the efficacy of Avicanna’s proprietary formulations in pre-clinical models for treating the disease.

The commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company said Dr Mac Burnham’s team will explore efficacy of Avicanna’s drug candidates and its proprietary combination of cannabinoids, including AVCN319302, in a pre-clinical model for seizures.

“The combination of real-world evidence and ongoing research collaborations enable us to further develop our pharmaceutical pipeline and further progress our drug candidate in the field of epilepsy,” Avicanna’s vice president of scientific and medical affairs Dr Karolina Urban said in a statement.

Avicanna noted the research collaboration will also evaluate the anti-seizure properties of rare cannabinoids in isolation, and in combination, and will be supported by the company’s current medical cannabis sales.

Dr Burnham is a professor emeritus of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine, and with his more than 150 publications has contributed greatly to the advancement of anti-seizure therapies, according to the company.

Avicanna is a commercial-stage international biopharmaceutical company focused on the advancement and commercialization of evidence-based cannabinoid-based products for the global medical and pharmaceutical market segments.

The company has an established scientific platform including R&D and clinical development that has led to the commercialization of more than 30 products across various market segments.

 

Source: proactiveinvestors.com, Sean Mason

Super-fit Derbyshire mechanic, 34, just never woke up, investigation finds

Super-fit Derbyshire mechanic, 34, just never woke up, investigation finds

He went to CrossFit around five times a week

The brother of a Derbyshire man, who suffered from epilepsy, told an inquest into his death that they knew something wasn’t right when he failed to turn up for work at the family business. Lee Ben Richards, 34, was later found lying in his bed at his home near Chesterfield by his father.

Lee Richards, who lived on Beresford Close in Danesmoor, was working as a mechanic at the family business, JW Richards and Sons, but he didn’t turn up for work on Thursday, September 23, 2021. In a statement read out at the inquest at Chesterfield Coroner’s Court, Brin Richards told the hearing his brother, Ross, got a feeling something wasn’t right that morning.

“Our father John went around to his house, he let himself in using Ross’ key. John found him on his bed, and an ambulance was called and he was pronounced dead.”

Describing his brother, Brin continued: “He was fit and strong, he went to CrossFit around five times a week. He had been texting a girl he romanticly liked until after midnight [on the night before]. He told her he was so tired he could barely keep his eyes open.”

Lee Richards had been diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 16 after he had a seizure in front of his mother. Prior to that, when he was just three years old, he fell off a wall while on a family holiday in Ibiza.

Brin Richards added that doctors told them his brother had about 48 hours to live following the accident on the Spanish island but he made “a remarkable recovery”. “The last time I saw Lee was two days before [he died] on Tuesday and he seemed well and in good spirits.”

Examinations of Lee Richards’ body following his death couldn’t lead to a cause of his death, and there was no presence of alcohol or drugs in his system other than the medication he’d been prescribed to deal with his epilepsy.

 

Source: derbytelegraph.co.uk, Jonathan Chubb

Microneedle technology for low-cost, painless, and bloodless tattoos

Microneedle technology for low-cost, painless, and bloodless tattoos

Instead of sitting in a tattoo chair for hours enduring painful punctures, imagine getting tattooed by a skin patch containing microscopic needles. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed low-cost, painless, and bloodless tattoos that can be self-administered and have many applications, from medical alerts to tracking neutered animals to cosmetics.

We’ve miniaturized the needle so that it’s painless, but still effectively deposits tattoo ink in the skin. This could be a way not only to make medical tattoos more accessible, but also to create new opportunities for cosmetic tattoos because of the ease of administration.”

Mark Prausnitz, principal investigator on the paper

Prausnitz, Regents’ Professor and J. Erskine Love Jr. Chair in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, presented the research in the journal iScience, with former Georgia Tech postdoctoral fellow Song Li as co-author.

Tattoos are used in medicine to cover up scars, guide repeated cancer radiation treatments, or restore nipples after breast surgery. Tattoos also can be used instead of bracelets as medical alerts to communicate serious medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, or allergies.

Various cosmetic products using microneedles are already on the market -; mostly for anti-aging -; but developing microneedle technology for tattoos is new. Prausnitz, a veteran in this area, has studied microneedle patches for years to painlessly administer drugs and vaccines to the skin without the need for hypodermic needles.

“We saw this as an opportunity to leverage our work on microneedle technology to make tattoos more accessible,” Prausnitz said. “While some people are willing to accept the pain and time required for a tattoo, we thought others might prefer a tattoo that is simply pressed onto the skin and does not hurt.”

Transforming tattooing

Tattoos typically use large needles to puncture repeatedly into the skin to get a good image, a time-consuming and painful process. The Georgia Tech team has developed microneedles that are smaller than a grain of sand and are made of tattoo ink encased in a dissolvable matrix.

“Because the microneedles are made of tattoo ink, they deposit the ink in the skin very efficiently,” said Li, the lead author of the study.

In this way, the microneedles can be pressed into the skin just once and then dissolve, leaving the ink in the skin after a few minutes without bleeding.

Tattooing technique

Although most microneedle patches for pharmaceuticals or cosmetics have dozens or hundreds of microneedles arranged in a square or circle, microneedle patch tattoos imprint a design that can include letters, numbers, symbols, and images. By arranging the microneedles in a specific pattern, each microneedle acts like a pixel to create a tattoo image in any shape or pattern.

The researchers start with a mold containing microneedles in a pattern that forms an image. They fill the microneedles in the mold with tattoo ink and add a patch backing for convenient handling. The resulting patch is then applied to the skin for a few minutes, during which time the microneedles dissolve and release the tattoo ink. Tattoo inks of various colors can be incorporated into the microneedles, including black-light ink that can only be seen when illuminated with ultraviolet light.

Prausnitz’s lab has been researching microneedles for vaccine delivery for years and realized they could be equally applicable to tattoos. With support from the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs, Prausnitz’s team started working on tattoos to identify spayed and neutered pets, but then realized the technology could be effective for people, too.

The tattoos were also designed with privacy in mind. The researchers even created patches sensitive to environmental factors such as light or temperature changes, where the tattoo will only appear with ultraviolet light or higher temperatures. This provides patients with privacy, revealing the tattoo only when desired.

The study showed that the tattoos could last for at least a year and are likely to be permanent, which also makes them viable cosmetic options for people who want an aesthetic tattoo without risk of infection or the pain associated with traditional tattoos. Microneedle tattoos could alternatively be loaded with temporary tattoo ink to address short-term needs in medicine and cosmetics.

Microneedle patch tattoos can also be used to encode information in the skin of animals. Rather than clipping the ear or applying an ear tag to animals to indicate sterilization status, a painless and discreet tattoo can be applied instead.

“The goal isn’t to replace all tattoos, which are often works of beauty created by tattoo artists,” Prausnitz said. “Our goal is to create new opportunities for patients, pets, and people who want a painless tattoo that can be easily administered.”

 

Source: news-medical.net, Emily Henderson, B.Sc.
Tips to Be Fit: Get a little help from a canine service friend

Tips to Be Fit: Get a little help from a canine service friend

Most people are familiar with guide dogs that assist people who are blind or have partial vision loss. There a variety of service dogs that also help those impacted by hearing loss, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, psychiatric illnesses, diabetes and many more medical conditions. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “service dogs are specially trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities.”

Seizure alert/seizure response dogs respond to epileptic seizures. They can be trained to pull emergency cords, lick their owner’s face to arouse their owner or retrieve their phone or push the call button for 911. Dogs can be trained to help with other chronic medical conditions such as heart attacks, stroke and panic attacks. Some dogs have the ability to predict a medical event such as seizure and detect changes in blood sugar. These dogs will become restless or push against their partner to warn them.

Service dogs provide true companionship and an invaluable sense of security. Assistance dogs have a long history. It was Florence Nightingale that pioneered the idea of animal-assisted therapy. She started using dogs to relieve the anxiety of patients with psychiatric issues. Sigmund Freud also used dogs in his work to put patients at ease and help them open up.

Elaine Smith a registered nurse working in an English hospital noticed that visits from a chaplain’s Golden Retriever was lifting patients’ spirits. That memory stayed with her when she returned to New Jersey. In 1976, she founded Therapy Dogs International — the world’s first organization for testing and certifying dogs and their volunteer handlers to visit hospitals, nursing homes and disaster relief shelters.

If you have a medical condition, think about a service dog.

The ADA mandates that service dogs must have full public access rights, which means they are allowed to go places where other animals are not allowed. They can be brought into restaurants, stores, libraries and other public spaces. They must be permitted in housing, even if other pets are not allowed. Service dogs are also allowed on airplanes and other public transport. Each airline has its own rules regarding service dogs. Most require that the dog sit on the traveler’s lap or at their feet. Dogs cannot block the aisle or sit in the emergency exit row. Service dogs are exempt from the pet fees that airlines charge. Check with your airline. There is no uniform state or national rules that regulate and certify service dogs. Every organization has different guidelines. As a general rule, service dogs should be trained, insured, and licensed by the nonprofit that’s offering their services.

Emotional support dogs (ESA) are not considered service dogs under the ADA. “They may be trained for a specific owner, but they are not trained for specific tasks or duties to aid a person with a disability, and this is the main difference between ESAs and service dogs. Unlike service dogs owners, ESA owners have only limited legal rights and those typically require a letter of diagnosis from the owner’s doctor or psychiatrist. While they don’t have unlimited access to public spaces, the Fair Housing Act mandates ‘reasonable accommodations’ for emotional support animals even in buildings that don’t allow pets. As of January 2021, airlines are no longer required to accommodate emotional support animals.”

The best breeds for assistance dogs:

Labrador retriever

Golden retriever

Poodle

Pomeranian

French bulldog

Greyhound

Pug

Dachshund

German shepherd

Border collie

Beagle

Yorkshire terrier

Cavalier King Charles

Corgi

Maltese

Boxers

Great Danes

Bernese mountain

Portuguese water

{h3}Some types of service dogs{/h3}

Allergy detection. These dogs are specially trained to detect and alert to the odor of allergens, such as peanuts, gluten or eggs.

Autism service

Diabetic alert

Guide

Hearing

Mobility assistance

Psychiatric service

Seizure alert

What to consider before you bring home a new dog:

Will you own your dog or does the agency retain ownership?

How much does it cost? Some agencies offer the dog for free and the others may charge you more than $15,000.

Can I train my own dog?

Are there application fees?

Do I need a note from my doctor explaining my condition?

How long is the training? It can take weeks to months.

Owning any animal is a serious commitment. Remember there will be daily care and a financial responsibility. This may be pale in comparison to the new freedom, security and companionship you receive or experience with your new friend.

 

 

Source: phillytrib.com, Vince Faust

How healthy is your brain? Improving nation’s brain health is focus of new AAN plan

How healthy is your brain? Improving nation’s brain health is focus of new AAN plan

Introducing September 15, 2022, “National Brain Health Day”

Improving brain health at every stage of life, from a person’s earliest years of development to their oldest years, is the focus of a new national effort by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals. To mark this effort, the AAN worked with U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) and Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia) to introduce a resolution to designate September 15, 2022, as “National Brain Health Day,” the same day top neurologists and health officials are gathering at the first-ever AAN Brain Health Summit.

A special editorial about the AAN Brain Health Summit, published in the September 14, 2022, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the AAN, explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated concerns about brain health due to the many neurologic complications with long COVID, as well as a growing public interest in how to keep a healthy brain.

“You only get one brain—and how to keep it healthy over your lifetime—is at the core of a newly evolving field of preventative neurology,” said Orly Avitzur, MD, MBA, FAAN, President of the American Academy of Neurology. “Neurologists who treat diseases and disorders like brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, epilepsy and stroke, are uniquely positioned as brain health experts to evolve the field of preventative neurology and help the nation improve brain health.”

The editorial explains the AAN Brain Health Summit will convene leading experts, key public and private sector stakeholders and policymakers in the United States to shape the future of care and develop a collaborative approach to ensure brain health as a key component of the overall health of individuals and communities. Participants will discuss brain health over the lifespan and outline current and future needs for research, education and advocacy to achieve a future of optimal brain health for all.

Since its founding in 1948, the AAN has demonstrated its commitment to brain health, most notably through its award-winning magazine, Brain & Life®, which has engaged nearly 100 celebrities, such as Michael J. Fox, Gloria Estefan, Sharon Stone and Renée Zellweger, to share their personal stories about the effects of brain disease or how they support brain health. Along with its suite of products—the website BrainandLife.org, Brain & Life® en Español, the Brain & Life® Books series and the Brain & Life Podcast—it has reached an estimated two million people worldwide in 2022.

“Designed as a call to action to raise awareness and improve understanding of brain diseases and the importance of maintaining a healthy brain, the American Academy of Neurology Brain Health Summit is intended to set the stage to enable the public to become better educated in brain health during every stage of life,” said Avitzur. “Despite a growing number of local, national and global brain health initiatives created to promote disease prevention and advance research, no singular medical or allied profession has ever been able to curate whole brain health. We believe that neurology, bolstered by the vast experience of the AAN in public education, is the ideal profession to lead this effort.”

National Brain Health Day encourages increased public awareness of brain health and supports efforts to study and develop better treatments to improve brain health.

After the AAN Brain Health Summit, an action plan outlining the AAN’s strategy, objectives and tactics will become the road map for incorporating brain health into neurologic practice and developing an integrated alliance with brain health care providers in other fields. Future updates on the action plan will be available on AAN.com.

Learn more about brain health at BrainandLife.org, home of the American Academy of Neurology’s free patient and caregiver magazine focused on the intersection of neurologic disease and brain health. Follow Brain & Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

When posting to social media channels, we encourage you to use the hashtags #BrainHealth and #NeuroTwitter.

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with over 38,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

 

Source: eurekalert.org, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF NEUROLOGY

Temporally ordered associations between type 2 diabetes and brain disorders

Temporally ordered associations between type 2 diabetes and brain disorders

Key Takeaways

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is co-morbid with or a risk factor for psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

  • The current study showed that T2DM is most highly associated with eating, schizophrenic spectrum, and inflammatory brain disorders, and epilepsy.

Putting It Into Practice

The strong association between T2DM and psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders supports shared environmental and genetic factors; however, the underlying mechanism is unknown.

The dysregulation of insulin signaling that is known to occurs in T2DM, metabolic syndrome, and obesity also involves psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

Why this study matters

T2DM affects > 6% of the global population, and the prevalence of T2DM has increased by 50% over the past 3 years. T2DM is the 9th leading cause of mortality worldwide.

In addition to the association between T2DM and cardiovascular and premature deaths, the current study showed that T2DM is associated with insulinopathies of the brain.

Study design

This was a population-based cohort study involving 1,883,198 individuals born between 1955 and 1984, and followed through 2016. The temporal associations between T2DM and 16 brain disorders were determined.

Results and conclusion

Of the 1,883,198 study participants, 67,660 (3.6%) developed T2DM after 30 years of age (mean age, 45 years).

T2DM was shown to be associated with most psychiatric disorders, but most often with eating (OR=2.64) and schizophrenic spectrum disorders (OR=273).

Of neurodegenerative disorders, T2DM was most often associated with inflammatory brain disorders (OR=1.73) and epilepsy (OR=1.67).

 

Source: mdlinx.com, Scott Cunningham, MD, PhD

COVID-19 and people with epilepsy: The latest on infection risk and vaccines

COVID-19 and people with epilepsy: The latest on infection risk and vaccines

When the pandemic began in March 2020, clinicians and people with epilepsy were concerned about potential risks or complications of COVID-19 infection. The neurological symptoms raised further questions about whether COVID-19 could worsen seizures in people with epilepsy or even contribute to an increase in epilepsy incidence.

Once vaccines became available in 2021, many people with epilepsy were unsure whether to get vaccinated. Some had concerns similar to those in the general population, but people with epilepsy also were concerned about seizure risk and effects on anti-seizure medications.

Does COVID-19 infection increase new-onset seizures or epilepsy incidence in the population?

There is no evidence that it does.

It’s complicated, if not impossible, to show whether COVID-19 infections are associated with an increase in epilepsy incidence or prevalence, said Bernhard Steinhoff, who spoke at the European Epilepsy Congress in Geneva in July 2022. “From a methodological point of view, we can’t really answer this,” he said. “There are so many potential variables.”

Studies also would need to differentiate acute symptomatic seizures from new-onset epilepsy, he noted. And without more research on biological mechanisms, it’s not possible to say whether COVID-19 infections are leading to cases of epilepsy that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

Was the COVID-19 pandemic associated with increases in seizure frequency?

Yes – but they were not due to infections or vaccinations.

The research literature does show that some people experienced increases in seizure frequency during the pandemic, but the increases were related to health system and social issues, including interruptions in medication availability, decreased access to care, and increased stress.

A recent systemic review found that 18.5% of people with epilepsy experienced increases in seizure frequency during the pandemic. And a study from Uganda found that during lockdown, 23.5% of surveyed people with epilepsy said their seizure frequency had increased. In this study, 49% believed that people with epilepsy were more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than other people, misinformation that may have caused them to avoid seeking follow-up care during the pandemic.

Whether COVID-19 infection itself increases seizure frequency in people with epilepsy is mostly unknown, though many studies have attempted to address the question. “We have wonderful papers and large groups of patients, but there is such a mix of patients [and epilepsy types],” Steinhoff said. “Or you have studies that use patients from a selective, homogenous group, but those are small studies.”

Steinhoff and colleagues conducted a recent study using a year’s worth of data from outpatients at Kork Epilepsy Center in Germany. They identified 51 people with epilepsy who had PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection. Of those, 7.8% experienced increases in seizure frequency.

Are people with epilepsy at increased risk for more serious cases of COVID-19 infection?

If they are, it is likely due to comorbidities or other factors – not epilepsy itself.

“I would guess that the course of COVID-19 infection and mortality rate might be different in people with epilepsy from the general population,” said Steinhoff. “It’s almost impossible to see in the data, but I believe some people with epilepsy do have higher risks with infection, but that is due to their comorbidities rather than to the epilepsy.”

J. Helen Cross, ILAE president, agreed. “There are many people in which a comorbidity is a risk factor” for severe infection or mortality, she said. “This could be cancer, immune suppression, hypertension, obesity. People with epilepsy cover the whole age range and they often have other comorbidities, so to tease out whether epilepsy per se is a risk factor is very difficult.”

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis evaluated outcomes in people with epilepsy compared to people without epilepsy. Epilepsy was associated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes (OR 1.69; 95% CI 1.11-2.59) and a higher mortality risk (OR 1.71; 95% CI: 1.14-2.56). However, the data were inadequate to assess the impact of comorbidities. The impacts of epilepsy type, seizure type, treatment type, and extent of seizure control also could not be determined. The authors noted that most of the studies in the review had major limitations.

Preventing COVID-19 infection in people with epilepsy may reduce the risk of mortality. A recent study in the UK that used medical records from nearly 7 million people found that after vaccination, epilepsy was not a risk factor for increased mortality due to COVID-19-infection.

Vaccine effectiveness: The COVID Symptom Study

Research that has surveyed people with epilepsy has found several concerns regarding vaccination. Most are epilepsy related, but a certain percentage of people with epilepsy—as with people in the general population—have concerns about vaccine effectiveness.

The COVID Symptom Study (UK) used data on about 1 million people who were vaccinated with at least one dose. People reported their COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as any subsequent COVID-19 infection, through a mobile app. The study used several control groups. It did not focus on people with epilepsy, and it isn’t known how many of the participants may have had epilepsy.

Of those receiving the first vaccine, 0.5% reported a COVID-19 infection after being vaccinated but before receiving the second vaccine dose.

Of people receiving two vaccines, 0.2% later tested positive for COVID-19.

The study found:

  • COVID-19 infections were less severe in vaccinated people.
  • Vaccinated people experienced fewer symptoms, were less likely to be hospitalized, and recovered more quickly than those who were unvaccinated.
  • Among those infected, vaccinated people were about twice as likely as unvaccinated people to be completely asymptomatic.

Does COVID-19 vaccination increase seizure risk in people with epilepsy?

Studies have not shown significant increases in seizure frequency after vaccination.

At the European Epilepsy Congress, Steinhoff reviewed four studies focused on seizure risk and COVID-19 vaccination in people with epilepsy. The studies showed no significant risks for seizure increases after vaccination:

A 2021 study from Germany included 54 people with epilepsy who had the first dose of one of the mRNA vaccines (Astra Zeneca, Moderna, or Pfizer/Biontech). One person had a seizure the day after the vaccination, and one person experienced a new seizure type the day after the vaccination. If both events are considered vaccine-related, the vaccine-related seizure event rate was 3.7%.

A 2022 study from Turkey included 178 people with epilepsy, most of whom were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine. The data showed no statistically significant risk of seizure increases between vaccinations or after each vaccination. Most of this group had generalized epilepsies, and the small percentage (2.2%) of people who had seizure increases also experienced fever.

A study in Kuwait involved 111 people with epilepsy; 82 were vaccinated and 29 were not. Of those vaccinated, 6.1% reported a seizure increase after a vaccine. The relative risks for seizure increases were very small: 1.027 for the first Pfizer/Biontech vaccine; 1.019 for the second Pfizer/Biontech vaccine, and 1.026 for the first Astra Zeneca vaccine.

A study from China, published in 2021, found no differences in vaccine-related adverse events in people with epilepsy, compared with a control group and a group of people with other chronic neuropsychiatric conditions (anxiety, depression, headache, peripheral neuropathy, sleep disorders, and several others). A seizure increase was seen in 3.9% of vaccinated people with epilepsy.

Only 42% of people with epilepsy in the China study had received at least one vaccine, compared with 93% of controls and 84% of people with other neuropsychiatric conditions.

Compared with people with other neuropsychiatric conditions, people with epilepsy were significantly more concerned about potential adverse events (53.5% vs 23.5%), and they were also concerned about interactions between the vaccination and their medication.

“Those are the same concerns our patients have here in Germany,” said Steinhoff. “That’s why we did our study.”

Seizure risks: Infection versus vaccination

Steinhoff and colleagues compared 51 people with epilepsy who had a PCR-proven COVID-19 infection and no vaccinations to 561 people with epilepsy who were fully vaccinated and never knowingly infected with COVID-19. Their work (in press in Clinical Epileptology) showed that the rate of seizure increase associated with infection (7.8%) was significantly higher than the rate of seizure increase associated with vaccination (1.4%).

“Infected patients had significantly more seizure increases than vaccinated patients,” said Steinhoff. “But even in the infected group, the increase was not too dramatic.”

Because the patient groups were not subdivided by epilepsy type, seizure type, or comorbidities, the study was not powered to determine whether COVID-19 infection led to a significant increase in seizure frequency. Its purpose was to compare changes in seizure frequency between two clearly defined groups: people who had been infected and never vaccinated, and people who had been vaccinated and never infected.

The results are “very good news” for people with epilepsy who are concerned about COVID-19 vaccination, said Steinhoff.

Communication to encourage COVID-19 vaccination

“There is good safety and tolerability of the vaccines and no increased seizure risk with vaccinations,” he said. “I give advice to get vaccinated to all of our patients, especially [higher-risk groups such as] patients with comorbidities or intellectual disabilities, as well as patients who are institutionalized.”

Addressing patient concerns about vaccination is important, said Steinhoff. Some people worry that COVID-19 vaccines could interact with anti-seizure medications.

“Epileptologists talk about [drug-drug interactions] all the time,” said Steinhoff. “People are so aware of the topic; they internalize it. If that is a patient concern, you speak about it with them.”

Cross agreed. “As clinicians, we keep talking about how people need to be aware of what medications they are on because of interactions,” she said. “The vaccine isn’t metabolized in the liver and it’s not going to interfere, but the lay person may interpret it as, ‘Something is going into my body and so I need to be worried about this.’ So we need to provide accurate information.”

 

Source: newswise.com, International League Against Epilepsy

The patient perspective of the financial journey in healthcare

The patient perspective of the financial journey in healthcare

Derra Howard, founder and patient advocate for Saving Grace Epilepsy Foundation, will be part of a panel on navigating the financial journey in healthcare at INVEST Digital Health in Dallas on September 28. Register today!

Patient and consumer satisfaction isn’t only about better outcomes. It’s very much about the financial journey they have to endure. At the INVEST Digital Health conference in Dallas at Pegasus Park September 28, in collaboration with Health Wildcatters, the patient perspective will be part of a series of conversations across digital health around employee benefits and consumerization in healthcare.

Derra Howard, founder and patient advocate for Saving Grace Epilepsy Foundation, will be part of a panel on navigating the financial journey in healthcare. In response to emailed questions, she described what it’s like to have a lifelong chronic condition, particularly the stress and anxiety of not only managing one’s health but also medical bills and the toll it can take.

“I honestly think medical bills are hard when you are sick. Even more so when it happens unexpectedly. As I started having seizures as a child a lot of my bills fell on my parents. During that time, insurance companies wouldn’t cover me, or it was too expensive to cover me,” Howard recalled. “As an adult, I never wanted to go to the hospital even if I needed to. I understood that was a bill which meant more stress.”

The panel, Improving the financial experience in healthcare, will also explore costs for prescription drugs, hospital stays, and how to ensure that patients don’t have to endure greater financial burdens while tackling troubling illnesses or chronic conditions.

Other participants in the panel, which is sponsored by Experian, include:

  • Adam Dakin, partner, HealthTech, Dreamit HealthTech (moderator)
  • Jason Considine, chief commercial officer, Experian Health
  • Derra Howard, founder and patient advocate, Saving Grace Epilepsy Foundation
  • Florian Otto, co-founder and CEO, Cedar
  • Adrian Rodriguez, vice president of quality and safety, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, PBC
  • Maria del Carmen Uceda, chief surgical sherpa, Surgical Sherpa

There will also be networking opportunities and a startup pitch contest Pitch Perfect, which will spotlight companies seeking to address pain points in healthcare.

 

Source: medcitynews.com, Stephanie Baum

17th Annual Dream for Kids Rally is Saturday In Ottertail

17th Annual Dream for Kids Rally is Saturday In Ottertail

OTTERTAIL, MN (KDLM) – The 17th Annual Dreams for Kids Rally is this Saturday at the Woodshed Bar and Grill in Ottertail, which helps raise money to grand local children’s wishes. This year’s rally will benefit Anna Warner, a third-grader at New York Mills Elementary School, who was diagnosed with epilepsy three years ago.

“Epilepsy is where you have seizures,” says Warner. “It feels like a spider is crawling across my brain and then a lightswitch turns off,”

Registration for the ride begins at 10 am, leaves the Woodshed at noon, then returns for dinner, and silent and live auctions. The entry fee is $25 and includes the ride, Itasca park pass, dinner, and evening entertainment.

Anna’s wish is to go snorkeling in Hawaii. For more info on the ride, you can contact Wanta at 218-298-2211.

 

Source: lakesarearadio.net, Zeke Fuhrman

Why does fasting reduce seizures?

Why does fasting reduce seizures?

Calorie restriction has long been associated with reduced seizures in epilepsy. New research from Boston Children’s Hospital helps explain how fasting affects neurons in the brain and could lead the way to new approaches that would avoid the need for fasting or restrictive diets. The findings were published August 30 in the journal Cell Reports.

“This study is the first step in understanding how dietary therapies for epilepsy work,” says first author Christopher J. Yuskaitis, MD, Ph.D., a neurologist with the Epilepsy Center and Epilepsy Genetics Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “The mechanisms have until now been completely unknown.”

DEPDC5, mTOR, and fasting

To connect the dots between diet and seizures, the researchers began with existing knowledge. They knew that the well-known mTOR cellular pathway is involved in many neurological disorders and had shown previously that over-activation of this pathway in neurons increases susceptibility to seizures. Studies by others had shown that mTORC activity is inhibited by acute fasting, though these studies didn’t look at the brain.

Finally, Yuskaitis and colleagues knew that signaling by a protein called DEPDC5 acts as a brake on the mTOR pathway. That was intriguing, since mutations in the DEPDC5 gene have recently been found in many people with epilepsy. DEPDC5 mutations have been linked to focal epilepsy, infantile spasms, and sudden death in children.

“When we used an animal model that knocks out DEPDC5 specifically in the brain, we found that we could reduce seizures by using an mTOR inhibitor,” says Yuskaitis. “That gave us the idea to explore the connection between DEPDC5, mTOR, and fasting.”

Amino acid sensing

In the new study, they showed in a mouse seizure model that mTOR signaling was reduced in the brain after fasting. Additional studies of cultured rat neurons in a dish suggest that this fasting effect is primarily driven by the lack of three amino acids (leucine, arginine, and glutamine).

Going further, the team demonstrated that the presence of these nutrients is sensed by the DEPDC5 protein. When they knocked out DEPDC5 in the brain, mTOR activity was not reduced and fasting no longer protected the mice against seizures.

“Amino acid sensing seems to be critical for the beneficial effects of fasting on seizures,” says Yuskaitis. “This suggests that patients with DEPDC5 mutations can’t sense the loss of amino acids and may not benefit from dietary manipulation. But patients who don’t have DEPDC5 mutations may benefit from a targeted dietary strategy.”

This could take the form of diets with lower levels of the three amino acids, or medications or supplements that block absorption of those amino acids, he adds.

Next step: Ketogenic diet

This study is only a first step. Yuskaitis and colleagues now want to try diets in animal models that eliminate specific amino acids and observe the effects on seizures. They also want to explore how the ketogenic diet, a popular approach to treating epilepsy, helps curb seizures. No one currently knows why this low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet works.

“We’re hoping this will hope us uncover additional dietary-based therapies other than ketogenic diet, which is sometimes difficult to follow long term due to side effects,” says Yuskaitis.

Such work may also provide a new lens on neurologic disorders overall.

“Using these rare genetic disorders, we are starting to gain fundamental insights into the role of nutrients in brain function,” says senior investigator Mustafa Sahin, MD, Ph.D., managing director of the Rosamund Stone Zander Translational Neuroscience Center at Boston Children’s. “Findings from these rare disorders may open doors for better treatments of epilepsy in general.”

 

Source: medicalxpress.com, Children’s Hospital Boston

A tribute to our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen

A tribute to our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen

Her Majesty The Queen during a visit to the Epilepsy Society in 1985

For seven decades, we have been proud and privileged to have Her Majesty The Queen as Patron of the Epilepsy Society.

We know that epilepsy was a cause that was very close to her heart. The Queen’s uncle, Prince John lived with seizures during his short life and is believed to have died of his epilepsy at the age of 13. As anyone who has lost a loved one to epilepsy knows, the impact on a family can live on for generations to come. The loss, the heartache and the need to stop others living through the same unimaginable grief are unending.

During her lifetime the Queen supported over 600 charities in the UK, recognizing the invaluable role they play in making a difference to the lives of people both at home and abroad. Following her 90th birthday, Her Majesty began to relinquish some of her patronages. We are proud that she remained, until her death on 8 September 2022, our much loved patron.

A true inspiration

Clare Pelham, Chief Executive of the Epilepsy Society said: “Her Majesty The Queen has been an inspiration to people around the world. Everyone, in nations far and wide, will have cherished memories of what she meant to them. That is what makes it so special for us at the Epilepsy Society, that throughout her reign, in spite of all the demands on her time as monarch, the Queen remained a loyal and constant supporter of our charity and of the 600,000 people in the UK with epilepsy.

“Epilepsy is often considered something of a Cinderella condition, slightly in the shadows and often overlooked. But the Queen’s stalwart position as our patron meant royal recognition for the condition. It meant solidarity, empathy and understanding.

“We often say that epilepsy has no respect for kings and castles. It can affect anyone of any race, faith, age or gender. The Queen’s patronage of the Epilepsy Society was a great testimony to this.”

How the Queen’s charity has changed lives

During Christmas 2020, with the nation in lockdown, we sent a special festive message to Her Majesty at Windsor Castle via Zoom. Many people whose lives have been changed by the Epilepsy Society joined us on the call to tell the Queen just what a gamechanger her charity has been.

Well-wishers included a young mum who had undergone brain surgery to stop her seizures and who is now a nurse in the NHS with two young boys; there was a GB judo fighter whose dreams of representing Great Britain in the next Paralympics have been made possible by treatment at the Chalfont Centre; and there was a couple whose whole family have been helped through genomic sequencing.

Clare Pelham continued: “They all had a simple message for the Queen, which I believe says it all, from all of us at the Epilepsy Society: ‘Thank you.’ ”

 

Source: epilepsysociety.org.uk, Nicola Swanborough

RECENT NEWS