How to help with an epileptic seizure

How to help with an epileptic seizure

A seizure can happen to a person at any time. In the process of a seizure, the victim is unconscious and really needs the help of people who are next to him. The BLiTZ figured out how to provide first aid for an epileptic seizure and how to behave in a similar situation.

An epileptic seizure causes intense stimulation of the brain. A group of cells in one part of the brain loses electrical stability, which creates a strong electrical discharge that spreads to surrounding cells, disrupting normal functioning. Depending on the volume of brain damage, major and minor epileptic seizures are distinguished.

The state of the seizure is very frightening to others. An attack cannot be stopped or prevented. It is important to understand that a person in this state is not aware of anything and does not experience pain. If you happen to be near such a person, remain calm and follow the rules of first aid.

Minor epileptic seizure

Signs: loss of consciousness from a few seconds to a minute, breathing and pulse are normal, unseeing eyes, twitching of hands, head, lips, etc. Without realizing what is happening, a person leaves this state as suddenly as he enters it.

For first aid, seat and reassure the casualty. When the person comes to his senses, tell about the incident, perhaps this is the first seizure in life. Advise to see a doctor.

Grand mal seizure

Signs: there is an unpleasant taste in the mouth, smell, loss of consciousness. Breathing may stop, but is quickly restored. The pulse is normal. The victim loses consciousness and falls to the floor and begins to convulse. The pupils do not react to light, the face turns pale, and then turns blue, foam comes from the mouth. The duration of such a seizure is from 20 seconds to 2 minutes.

If you notice the above signs in a nearby person, try to hold him so that he does not injure himself when falling. Lay him on the floor and put something soft under his head. Open the collar. During convulsions, do not try to restrain the person and do not unclench your teeth. With increased salivation and vomiting, the patient should be laid on his side and his head turned to the side. You need to wait until the attack ends and observe in order to tell the doctor everything in detail. It’s important to keep the time. If the duration of the attacks lasts from 5 to 30 minutes, you need to call an ambulance.

After an attack, the patient feels weak, exhausted, or falls asleep. Don’t wake him up. It is necessary to stay close when the period of confused consciousness is over and the victim has fully recovered.



Neurologists caution against warning signs of epilepsy due to low awareness levels

Neurologists caution against warning signs of epilepsy due to low awareness levels

Mumbai-based neurologists have cautioned against warning signs of epilepsy due to low awareness levels. Epilepsy impacts the brain leading to frequent seizures. It is seen in a large number of people and many cases go unreported. Epilepsy is a brain disease that causes abnormal hyperexcitability of brain cells leading to seizures. It is the need of the hour to seek timely intervention and manage the condition.

People of all age groups can suffer from this condition. The symptoms of epilepsy are jerking and shaking which means one will get fit. Furthermore, there will be stiffness, sudden collapse, and a tingling feeling in the arms or legs. Some people may also not remember what has happened before and during that time as they pass out.

According to Dr Kavita Barhate, neurologist, SRV Hospital, Dombivali, Mumbai, “A traumatic brain injury, serious illness, fever, stroke, low oxygen supply to the brain, brain tumor or cyst, dementia, HIV and AIDS and meningitis, drug abuse, and alcohol misuse are some of the reasons behind the occurrence of this condition. Moreover, this condition gets triggered due to lack of sleep, illness, fever, stress, bright lights, certain medications, skipping meals, overeating, and low blood sugar levels. It will be essential for you to recognize the signs and symptoms and get timely treatment without any delay.”

Talking about the complications, experts say that one can suffer from serious injuries because of falling after getting a seizure. Apart from that, other complications are depression, choking on food and anxiety. Thus, one should consult the doctor when one gets a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes or if one has any serious injuries or breathing difficulties.

Highlighting the role of diagnosis, Dr Barhate says, “The doctor will ask for an MRI and EEG for diagnosing the causes of seizures. But the diagnosis of epilepsy is essentially clinical. Normal MRI or EEG does not rule out the diagnosis of epilepsy.”

“It will be imperative for you to adopt a well-balanced lifestyle. Try to exercise on a daily basis in order to stay healthy and control seizures. Exercising can also help you to de-stress and boost your mood. Also, relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can relieve stress. Make sure to sleep well, maintain an optimum weight, and avoid smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse,” Dr Barhate concludes.


Source:, Shardul Nautiyal

How Epilepsy Can Affect Sexual Health

How Epilepsy Can Affect Sexual Health

Sexual dysfunction can be a part of several chronic medical disorders and epilepsy is one of them. Epilepsy has been reported to be associated with an increased rate of sexual problems as compared to general population. The exact prevalence of sexual dysfunction reported in patients with epilepsy (PWE) is not well studied. Epilepsy has been linked to a decline in sexual function in a number of epidemiological and clinical investigations. It often takes deliberate efforts as part of the screening and therapy process to identify this sexual dysfunction in epileptic individuals. As a result, accurate assessments of the prevalence of treatment-related sexual dysfunction in patients with epilepsy are currently available. Sex may be affected by hormone levels, anatomical changes in the brain, and drugs for epilepsy. Epilepsy anxiety may also affect a person’s sexual life.

The mechanism by which epilepsy contributes to sexual dysfunction is complex. It can be a result of the changes in the brain networks which cause epilepsy. It may also be a result of changes in sex hormones and due to anti-seizure medications. Psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety that are commoner in these patients can also cause sexual dysfunction.

The degree of sexual problems may also vary including loss of libido, problems with interest and arousal, orgasm , pain during intercourse in women and the common problem of Erectile dysfunction in men.

Patients with refractory /poorly controlled epilepsy, usually report less satisfaction with their sex life than general population. The older generation antiepileptic drugs have been shown to be be associated with little higher rates of sexual dysfunction as compared to the newer drugs.

However apart from these problems mentioned, there is no data to suggest lower rates of fertility in men/ women , no negative impact on sperm quantity and quality in PWE , implying they can lead a normal healthy married life .

The following are a few potential causes of issues with epilepsy and sex:

· Anti-epileptic medicines: Some anti-seizure drugs are known to have an impact on a person’s libido. Consult your doctor if you think your sexual drive has diminished while starting a new seizure medication.

· Hormones and seizures: Our brains release hormones when we feel sexually arouse. Epileptic seizures, according to some researchers, may alter the way these hormones are released in the brain.

· Types of seizures: Sexual issues are more common in people with certain types of epilepsy. Sex problems are more common in people whose epilepsy begins in the temporal lobe because it can interact with areas of the brain that control sexual desire.

· Factors psychological: The sex drive of epileptics may also be affected by psychological issues. Having epilepsy can make you feel depressed and anxious, which makes you less likely to want to have sex. People’s sexual desire and self-esteem may also be affected by epilepsy.

Management of these issues requires an active participation and accurate reporting of these symptoms by the patient to the treating doctor. Various approaches which might be helpful include:

· Behavioral approaches to enhance sexual performance, involving a clinical psychologist in the management.

· Dose reduction of current medications as per the need/ shifting to newer safer anti epileptic drugs

· Daily exercise including yoga/ meditation

· Avoid of smoking/ alcohol

· Oral medications and even some procedures can help patients with ED , under supervision of a urologist

To conclude sexual dysfunction is common in epilepsy and can impact overall quality of life. Proper reporting and management can help these patients lead a fuller healthy life. The pathophysiology of epilepsy and the administration of AEDs have an impact on sexual function. The status of the patient’s sexual function should be discussed as part of the initial routine assessment and with any treatment-related follow-up in order to maximise the quality of care for patients with epilepsy and those with other disease conditions who get AEDs. Raising patient awareness, educating and training clinicians about sexual dysfunction, and getting a baseline sexual history from the patient are critical recommendations for minimising the impact of AED-related sexual dysfunction. In order to investigate the risk and mechanism of such treatment-related side effects on sexual function, systematic studies are also required.


Source:, Dr. Amit Batra

Ohio woman sudden bout with epilepsy at 37

Ohio woman sudden bout with epilepsy at 37

This is the story of a wife, author, entrepreneur, and life coach, Nathalis. On January 2022, after the pandemic hit the US, and after being affected by COVID-19 for a few months, she had her first seizure at the age of 37. She had no previous episodes, and no family history of the brain disorder.

After having a night of celebration on her new career path, she went to bed as she normally would. When around 4am, her husband was awaked by what could only be described as an eerie scream from his wife’s side of the bed. When he turned around, she was already convulsing, laying flat on her belly with her head buried in her pillow. He was immediately alarmed and tried to wake her to no avail. He had no idea what was going on and the danger his wife was in. In retrospect, his wife could have died – if not by the seizure, certainly by the fact that she was faced down unable to turn on her own, choking on her own spit and blood stained pillow.

He attempted to turn her on her side, but she was completely stiff and heavy, so the best he could do is use his arm as a kick-stand on her shoulder to keep her from choking. When he saw her face for the first time, he knew something was wrong. She could barely breathe, her lips were turning blue, foam and blood were coming out of her mouth – a feeling he describes as traumatizing. He dialed 911 and tried to keep calm as the paramedics arrived. A few minutes later, Nathalis went a bit limp, so he was able to turn her head to the side and position her in a way so that she wouldn’t be flat on her belly. He rushed to unlock the front door to their small apartment and leave it slightly open for the paramedics to come in.

She was taken to ER where she came about not knowing where she was or what had happened to her. Her husband followed behind but was not allowed to enter in due to new COVID-19/Hospital guidelines… so he went back home, got her cell phone, and brought it back to the hospital with an I Love You note. He kindly asked the nurse to take it to her, so they could talk on the phone. Soon after, they were able to talk, and a few hours after she was released.

Nathalis has never had anything like this happen before. By this time, they were still not sure what happened. About 4 months later, she had another one. This time she started feeling strange; she was feeling tired, drained, unable to focus, forgetting things, etc. It was at this point where she had to see a brain specialist, where she learned she was having nocturnal seizures with smaller silent seizures during the day. Again, no prior illnesses, conditions, or family history with this brain disorder.

Nathalis is what close friends and family know as a social butterfly. Very passionate, smart, business minded, resourceful, go-getter, and just the life of the party. A woman with a heart of gold who selflessly has served in her community, coach other women, helped countless through trauma, and very well respected in her church. That woman is also my wife.

She is full of life, very bright, and funnier than I could ever be! Well, I happen to think I am very funny as well, so you can imagine! lol Simply put, it is impossible to be around her and not leave with a smile on your face.

Throughout the past year and 2 months – ever since she had her first seizure, I have witnessed around 5 in total with countless daytime episodes. It is saddening seeing such a bright light be a little dimmed due to Epilepsy.

In spite of the toll on her mental, emotional, and physical health, she continues to push forward in life. While still trying to figure out medications, changes in mood, blackouts, and just getting used to her new life, she still works, still very much involved in her church, and still helping others through life. She is truly remarkable and my definition of inspiring faith and devotion. Life for us haven’t been the same. To this day I have trouble sleeping – thinking she may have another, and I need to be there for her.

I write this article to create awareness and because I know this is not a very well known subject. People may have bouts with some kind of Epilepsy and not even know it. If you experience black-outs, if you forget things a lot, if out of nowhere you feel drained, fatigued, extreme tiredness even after sleeping your full recommended 8 hours, it may be worth looking into. If you ever wake up and are unable to move or feel like you bit your tongue during your sleep, this is also a sign. Lifestyle changes, de-stressing techniques, and over all good health/doctor visits, could help prevent the unexpected.


Source:, Emabajadores

What Is Epilepsy?

What Is Epilepsy?

A Neurological Condition That Causes Recurrent Seizures

Epilepsy is a medical condition in which a person is predisposed to recurrent seizures. Seizures are brief episodes of involuntary movements and/or changes in consciousness that occur due to an alteration of brain activity.

Epilepsy is caused by a variation in brain structure or function, which might be detected with imaging studies or diagnostic tests of electrical activity in the brain.

Recurrent seizures can cause physical injuries and may interfere with day-to-day life. Additionally, prolonged seizures and frequent seizures can cause harm to the brain, leading to worsening epilepsy or cognitive changes.

This article will discuss the symptoms of epilepsy, types of seizures, diagnosis, treatment, and living with epilepsy.

Types of Seizures

There are many different types of seizures. They are defined based on the symptoms and the location in the brain where they begin.

Some of the common seizure types include:

  • Absence seizures: These episodes consist of brief staring spells without any awareness of the episode. Absence seizures are generalized seizures that do not involve involuntary movements or changes in muscle tone.
  • Focal onset seizures: These affect one brain region on one side. Symptoms may include jerking or stiffening of one limb, sensory changes, and partial loss of awareness. The episodes may begin and end as partial seizures or spread to both sides of the brain, causing effects on both sides of the body and loss of consciousness. A person who experiences recurrent focal seizures will generally experience the same symptoms every time.
  • Generalized onset seizures: A generalized onset seizure begins on both sides of the brain, leading to loss of awareness. Some generalized seizures cause involuntary movements on both sides of the body. An absence seizure is a type of generalized onset seizure that doesn’t involve involuntary movements.
  • Secondarily generalized seizures: A focal seizure may spread to other areas of the brain, causing symptoms of a generalized seizure.
  • Myoclonic seizures: This type of seizure causes recurrent jerking of one extremity and may impact awareness. Usually, it involves one arm. It commonly occurs upon waking from sleep.
  • Tonic-clonic seizures: The involuntary stiffening and jerking of a tonic-clonic seizure can occur with focal or generalized seizures.
  • Temporal lobe seizures: Focal seizures that begin in the brain’s temporal lobe may involve unusual perceptions or changes in consciousness, often without complete loss of consciousness. Sometimes temporal lobe seizures can make a person feel like something is “not right” or they have a sense of déjà vu.

The classification and definitions of seizures can overlap. People who have epilepsy experience one or more seizure types.

Symptoms of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition characterized by recurrent seizures. The seizures cause symptoms that correspond to the area of the brain that’s affected during the seizure. Usually, a person who has epilepsy will continue to experience the same symptoms and type of seizures, and will rarely develop a new type of seizure.

Symptoms of a seizure may include:

  • Jerking of one limb on one side of the body
  • Facial twitching
  • Stiffening of one area of the body or the whole body
  • Unusual noises or grunting
  • Falling
  • Diminished awareness
  • A complete lack of awareness

Typically, a seizure will last for only a few seconds and will include one or more of the symptoms. Some people may have a specific sequence of symptoms. For example, a seizure may begin with grunting and progress to involve facial twitching.

Seizures are typically defined as having phases or stages that occur in a sequence:

  • Some people experience a prodrome for hours or days prior to having a seizure. This can involve feeling sick or tired. People who have recurrent seizures may begin to recognize their own prodrome symptoms.
  • A seizure aura includes symptoms that can last for seconds or minutes prior to more recognizable seizure symptoms.
  • The ictal seizure phase is what is usually described as the “seizure” and it may involve changes in consciousness or involuntary jerking or stiffening.
  • The post-seizure phase, sometimes called a postdrome generally involves fatigue. A person may fall asleep for several hours after having a seizure. Some people who have focal seizures with limb jerking or stiffening may also experience a period of weakness of the affected limb, described as Todd’s paralysis.

When to Get Emergency Care

Get prompt medical attention or call 911 for:

  • A first-time seizure
  • A seizure during pregnancy
  • A seizure lasting longer than five minutes
  • Seizure clusters (recurrent seizures within a few minutes)
  • An injury that occurred during a seizure
  • Difficulty breathing or walking after a seizure

What Causes Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. A predisposition to seizures is usually associated with one or more areas of brain damage.

The location of brain damage is usually the same location where the seizure began in the brain, also called the seizure focus.5 It may manifest with specific and limited symptoms, but a focal seizure can spread so quickly that the focal symptoms corresponding to the damaged area of the brain might not be apparent.

The damage that causes recurrent seizures can occur due to head trauma, an episode of extremely low oxygen to the brain, problems during fetal development or infancy, a stroke, or an infection. Sometimes epilepsy can be caused by genetic predisposition.

There are many neurodevelopmental conditions (involving the development of the brain) associated with epilepsy. Some of these include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Rett syndrome
  • Down syndrome
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy

Is Epilepsy Hereditary?

Epilepsy can be hereditary. A person who has seizures during early childhood may have a genetic predisposition to epilepsy or may have experienced issues during early fetal development or early childhood that are not genetic or hereditary.

Common Seizure Triggers

Certain factors can trigger seizures. A seizure trigger is a health condition, environmental factor, or substance that can cause instability in the brain’s electrical function, increasing the sensitivity of a seizure focus.

Most people who have epilepsy experience unprovoked seizures, which are seizures that occur without a trigger. Additionally, people who have epilepsy are especially sensitive to seizure triggers.

How to Identify Your Triggers

If you have epilepsy, it is best to avoid common seizure triggers, which include:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Sedatives
  • Lack of sleep
  • Skipping meals
  • Flashing lights
  • Hyperventilation (rapid, deep breathing)
  • Electrolyte imbalances (high or low values for sodium, chloride, calcium, potassium, or phosphate in the blood)
  • Dehydration
  • Infections
  • Severe illness

Additionally, you may also notice that you are especially sensitive to specific triggers, even if they aren’t common. This may include particular foods, sounds, or smells.

How Is Epilepsy Diagnosed?

Epilepsy is diagnosed based on the symptoms and diagnostic tests. A history of recurrent seizures, especially unprovoked seizures, is consistent with a diagnosis of epilepsy.

Sometimes changes are detected during a neurological examination, but the physical examination is often normal for people with epilepsy.

Diagnostic tests can help identify whether epilepsy involves focal or generalized seizures. Common tests used in an epilepsy diagnosis include:

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): This noninvasive test detects abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Sometimes the changes occur during a seizure, and sometimes certain areas of the brain show abnormal patterns when a person is not experiencing a seizure. Sleep deprivation and hyperventilation are more likely to bring out seizure activity during the test.
  • Brain imaging: A brain computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can usually identify structural abnormalities in the brain or its blood vessels that may predispose a person to seizures.
  • Blood tests: Screening tests can detect electrolyte abnormalities that can trigger a seizure. Depending on the medical history, certain blood tests may be ordered. Specialized blood tests can identify metabolic abnormalities or genetic changes associated with seizure syndromes.

Treatment for Epilepsy

Epilepsy is customarily treated with anti-epilepsy medication and avoidance of seizure triggers. For most people, these approaches are effective. Sometimes other interventions, such as surgery or brain stimulation, may be needed.


Medications indicated for treating epilepsy include those that are taken daily to prevent seizures. Some anti-epilepsy drugs are used on an emergency basis to help stop a prolonged seizure.

The selection of anti-epilepsy medication is based on the type of seizures and other medication or health problems that might affect treatment.


Brain surgery procedures can help reduce the number or severity of certain types of seizures. Epilepsy surgery may involve cutting into or removing an area of the brain that causes seizures or promotes the generalization of seizures.

Testing prior to epilepsy surgery involves EEGs, imaging tests, and an examination of the function of the target area of the brain.

Brain and Nerve Stimulation

Certain surgically implanted devices can be used to treat epilepsy. These devices provide internal electrical stimulation that helps regulate the electrical activity in the brain to prevent a seizure. The vagal nerve stimulator is an example of a device used in surgical brain stimulation for epilepsy.

Diet and Lifestyle

Anybody who has epilepsy should maintain a consistent diet and lifestyle:

  • Eat regularly to avoid high or low blood sugar.
  • Avoid dehydration, which can alter electrolyte levels.
  • Avoid infections and head trauma.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Don’t use alcohol or drugs.

The ketogenic diet for epilepsy is a special dietary regimen that is sometimes used to prevent seizures by people who have medication-resistant epilepsy. This diet involves maintaining a high-fat, low-carbohydrate intake, which leads to metabolic changes that can help prevent seizures.

However, the diet must be strictly adhered to because any intake of carbohydrates will alter the metabolic process that inhibits seizures. Therefore, this diet is used by people who are unable to obtain carbohydrates on their own, or who are extremely self-motivated.

Living With Epilepsy

Living with epilepsy requires making adjustments to day-to-day life to avoid seizure triggers. For some people, certain accommodations might be necessary for safety.

Managing Seizures

Managing epilepsy involves taking medication as prescribed. Skipping anti-epilepsy medication or taking it irregularly can cause frequent seizures.

Some anti-epilepsy medications have side effects. It’s important to speak with your healthcare team about any side effects so you can work together to manage them. This can involve completely switching to a different prescription or taking treatment to alleviate side effects.

Do not make changes in your anti-seizure medications on your own, because that can lead to seizures.

Devices That Help With Epilepsy

Specialty equipment can help improve quality of life. Depending on the type of seizures you experience and their impact on your life, you might consider using a device designed to help people who have epilepsy.

Examples of epilepsy devices and aids are:

  • Epilepsy watch: Specialized watches are programmed to detect changes in the body, such as temperature or heart rate. If you tend to experience any of these changes before having a seizure, the watch may alert you so that you can get to a safe place before having a seizure.
  • Alert or alarm: You might benefit from wearing or carrying an alarm so you can call for help if you feel that you need assistance.
  • Epilepsy service dog: While a dog is not a device, a canine companion that’s trained to recognize signs of epilepsy can help protect you from harm or call for help in the event of a seizure.


Epilepsy can cause several complications, such as:

  • An injury, such as a fall or bumping part of the body during a seizure
  • Danger to self or others when using equipment or driving during
  • Status epilepticus, a prolonged seizure that can cause brain damage, as well as systemic damage to the whole body

Emotional Impact

There are many emotional aspects of living with epilepsy. It can be difficult to adjust to the limitations of living with epilepsy, such as not driving or being unable to independently participate in certain activities, such as swimming.

Sometimes it can be difficult to regularly attend school or work due to seizures or medication side effects. These issues can lead to a sense of isolation or helplessness, and epilepsy is associated with a higher than average risk of depression.

If you are experiencing emotional complications due to epilepsy, you can seek professional support to help you talk through your feelings and learn to cope.

Can You Drive With Epilepsy?

Many states have regulations regarding driving for people who have epilepsy. Policies may consider factors such as how much time has passed since the most recent seizure or the use of medications.

You and your healthcare provider will have to discuss the regulations and the safest decision for you. Even if your state does not have restrictions that affect your permission to drive, your healthcare provider might recommend that you don’t drive as a safety precaution for yourself and others.


Epilepsy is a medical condition with a wide variation in severity. The outlook varies considerably. Some people have very good seizure control with a tolerable medication dose. Many people remain seizure free while taking anti-epilepsy medication.

However, some people with epilepsy continue to have seizures despite medication, surgery, and dietary interventions.

You can get some guidance regarding the anticipated outlook for your seizure type, which can help you understand what you should expect. Your situation is unique, and your outlook depends on how well your seizures are controlled, the cause of your seizures, and whether you also have other medical issues that might affect your epilepsy.


Source:, Heidi Moawad, Nicholas R. Metrus MD

8 Things to Know to Prevent Epilepsy Seizures

8 Things to Know to Prevent Epilepsy Seizures

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the electrical activity in the brain. Recurring seizures and sudden and temporary disruptions of normal brain function characterize it. Seizures can manifest in many ways, ranging from mild symptoms like blank staring and twitching to more severe convulsions that cause a loss of consciousness and physical control..

2. Have a Daily Exercise Routine

Daily exercise may also assist in developing stamina and boosting energy levels, making daily tasks simpler and lessening weariness. People with epilepsy may experience an overall improvement in their well-being due to their enhanced vitality and endurance.

3. Avoid Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine is a commonly consumed stimulant that can significantly affect the body and brain, including people with epilepsy. While caffeine can provide a quick energy boost, it can also trigger seizures in some people with epilepsy and worsen the symptoms of others.

Attacks can occur even in people with well-controlled epilepsy who do not normally have seizures. It is crucial for people with epilepsy to monitor their caffeine intake and avoid consuming large amounts of caffeine to reduce the risk of seizures.

4. Have Enough Sleep Everyday

Persons with epilepsy must get enough sleep to lower their risk of spasms. Sleep is important since inadequate rest or bad sleep can raise the risk of seizures. The likelihood of seizures can be decreased by maintaining consistent sleeping habits and getting enough rest.


Sleep is essential for overall fitness, and getting enough sleep can make one feel more energized and stronger. Increased vigor and endurance can help people with epilepsy feel better physically overall and experience fewer seizures.

5. Eat Properly and Regularly

A well-balanced and nutritious diet can help reduce the hazard of seizures in people with epilepsy. A healthy diet can help regulate the electrical activity in the brain, reducing the likelihood of seizures.


Eating the right foods also balances your sugar levels. Blood sugar imbalances can trigger seizures in some people with epilepsy, making it important to maintain stable blood sugar levels through a well-balanced diet.

6. Avoid Getting Stressed and Stressful Situations

The management of epilepsy episodes can be complicated by stress, potentially interfering with treatment. It can be more difficult to manage seizures and find a successful treatment when an individual with epilepsy encounters stress since it might worsen both frequency and intensity.

7. Take Medications On-time and as Prescribed

It is essential to take prescription medications as directed to stay in excellent health and manage various medical issues, including epilepsy. Medical professionals are trained to immediately provide the right medication to treat various illnesses.

When you take your medication as directed, it will work to address your problem. Each drug has a distinct mechanism of action and dosage that you must use to produce the intended result. Counterproductive treatment and even worsening the problem might result from using too much or too little medicine.

8. Avoid Drinking Alcohol

Some depressants like alcohol lower the ability of neurotransmitters in the brain to work, which severely affects people with epilepsy. Alcohol’s impact on the neuronal function of the brain is primarily responsible for its tendency to raise the risk of seizures. Since neurotransmitter activity is being suppressed, the brain may become more hyperactive and prone to shocks.

Dehydration brought on by liquor can also lead to convulsions. Alcohol is a diuretic that causes the body to urinate more and can cause dehydration, disrupting the nervous system’s electrical activity and raising the risk of attacks. Sodium, an essential electrolyte that aids in controlling the brain’s electrical activity, can be lost due to dehydration.

9. Regularly Consult with Your Doctor

Keep in regular contact with your physician so they can keep an eye on your condition and learn about your physical well-being. The doctor can use this information to assess whether prescription drugs or other therapies are required to manage seizures. By keeping track of the intensity and frequency of convulsions, a doctor can modify the treatment strategy to ensure that seizures are under control.

Maintain Your Health

Epileptic seizures can greatly impact a person’s everyday life, so it is critical to avoid them whenever feasible. While some episodes are unavoidable, there are several things you may do to lower your risk of experiencing one. It is achievable to control epilepsy and lessen the frequency and intensity of seizures with the appropriate assistance and treatment.


Source:, Amenda Shane

National Epilepsy Care Center rehomes Korea’s 1st epilepsy helper dog

National Epilepsy Care Center rehomes Korea’s 1st epilepsy helper dog

The National Epilepsy Care Center rehomed Lily, Korea’s first epilepsy helper dog, to an epilepsy patient.

According to the center, while there were helper dogs for visual, hearing, and physical disabilities in Korea, the National Epilepsy Care Center was able to successfully train and rehome an epilepsy helper dog for the first time through the Korea Assistance Dog Association with the support of the Korean Epilepsy Society.

An epileptic helper dog always stays next to a patient, barks loudly when a convulsive seizure occurs, informs the surroundings, goes under the patient’s body to prevent damage to the body if they fall, and sometimes warns the patient before a seizure occurs.

Lilly was rehomed to Kim Jeong-cheol, a 47 years old male living in Busan with epilepsy.

The National Epilepsy Care Center stressed that Kim is currently the director of the Jipyong Independent Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled and is taking the lead in improving awareness of the disabled.

“Epileptic patients live in the dark to avoid community prejudice and uncomfortable gazes,” Kim said. “I hope that through this project, awareness of epilepsy patients will be improved so that epilepsy patients are not discriminated against and become a caring society.”

Kim has received training for five days from the Korea Assistance Dog Association and has been living with Lily for about two weeks.

He expects to receive help during a seizure and feel emotional stability through Lily, and he hopes that many epilepsy patients in Korea will receive help from epilepsy helper dogs

Source:, Lee Han-soo

Neurofeedback Therapy: 7 Fascinating Effects On The Mind

Neurofeedback Therapy: 7 Fascinating Effects On The Mind

Neurofeedback therapy claims that it can help you be more efficient, balanced and happier. Could watching and shaping your own brainwaves do this?

Neurofeedback therapy training is like looking in a kind of mental mirror, where the ‘mirror’ is reflecting your brain’s electrical activity.

The training, some claim, can make you more centred, efficient, balanced and happier — perhaps dramatically enhancing your life.

While others are more skeptical, it has been the subject of renewed interest in psychological research.

What is neurofeedback therapy?

Neurofeedback therapy training itself typically involves sensors placed on the scalp which pick up and display it on a screen.

You then sit in front of the screen and try to change the waveform, just by thinking.

The idea is that you can learn to create specific brain states, like concentration or relaxation — it’s a kind of high-tech meditation.

Eventually, the theory goes, you can learn to better control your own brain.

1. Neurofeedback therapy for depression

Learning to control your own brain waves could be an effective treatment for severe depression, research finds (Cheon et al., 2017).

The small pilot study found that a technique called neurofeedback helped severely depressed people whose depression had proved very hard to treat.

For the study, people did two types of neurofeedback training:

  • Alpha-theta training, which has been shown to help alcoholics.
  • Beta/sensorimotor rhythm training which has been linked to improvements in ADHD and autism.

Professor Eun-Jin Cheon, the study’s first author, said:

“In our study we included patients with major depressive disorder, who still had residual symptoms and functional impairment despite receiving antidepressant treatment.

Our results suggested that neurofeedback might be an effective complementary treatment to make patients feel well again and successfully engage with life.

The most promising thing about neurofeedback is it doesn’t cause even mild side effects. It could also improve self-efficacy by participating active, voluntary treatment.”

2. Neurofeedback improves concentration

Researchers in Canada wanted to see if neurofeedback would affect mind-wandering — the brain’s irritating tendency to get distracted and decrease focus (Ros et al., 2012).-

After a 30-minute session of alpha-wave training, participants displayed better cognitive discipline compared to a control condition that was given false feedback.

Alpha waves are a type of electrical signal that the brain generates which is important in how people filter out distracting information.

After the training those who’d received neurofeedback had enhanced performance on a test of attention.

The lead author, Dr Tomas Ros explained:

“We were excited to find that increased metabolic coupling within a key cognitive network was reflected in the individual level of brainwave change provoked by neurofeedback.

The same measures were found to be tightly correlated with reductions in mind-wandering during an attention task.”

Other studies have also shown that people can boost their attention skills by controlling their own alpha brain waves using neurofeedback.

3. Boost the senses

Participants in a University College London study were told to concentrate on the visual cortex while being shown their own brain’s activity, as measured by an fMRI machine (Sharnowski et al., 2012).

They imagined various images and watched the activity of their brains change as they did so.

Their visual perception was then tested. What they found was that those who had been trained could distinguish more subtle shades of grey.

In other words: after focusing on the brain activity in the visual areas of the brain, their vision improved.

Dr. Frank Scharnowski said:

“We’ve shown that we can train people to manipulate their own brain activity and improve their visual sensitivity, without surgery and without drugs.”

4. A purer brainwave

When the mind wanders, the brain is filled with noisy activity, not all of it relevant to what we are doing right now.

Researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute wondered if neurofeedback could help the brain produce a purer signal (Papageorgiou et al., 2013).

They had participants simply counting upwards either with or without neurofeedback.

Brain scans revealed that those who’d been using neurofeedback demonstrated higher signal-to-noise ratios.

In other words: their brains were producing a more pure electrical signal.

The researchers eventually hope this will help in neurorehabilitation. Stephen LaConte said:

“Ultimately, we want to use this effect to find better ways to treat brain injuries and psychiatric and neurological disorders.”

5. Increase hand-eye coordination

Maybe more than anyone else, micro-surgeons need pinpoint precision.

So Ros et al. (2009) gave some trainee ophthalmic micro-surgeons eight 20-minute neurofeedback sessions, then tested them against those not given the training.

After the neurofeedback training, surgeons were more accurate on a test and, on average, 26 percent quicker.

6. Neurofeedback therapy for trauma

Neurofeedback may have advantages in treating those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A recent study by Kleutsch et al. (2013) recruited people who’d suffered childhood abuse and gave them a 30-minute neurofeedback session.

Afterwards brain scans revealed key positive changes in neural networks.

In addition, participants felt calmer.

The authors claim this shows that:

“…neurofeedback was able to directly modulate the brain bases of emotional processing in PTSD.”

7. Better dancer

One study has even examined the effects of neurofeedback on dance performances.

Raymond et al. (2005) recruited 24 dancers and gave some the neurofeedback training while others were in a control group.

Their dancing was assessed before and afterwards by professional judges who did not know which dancers had had the neurofeedback.

The results showed those that had received the neurofeedback training were significant better dancers.


These studies are just the tip of the iceberg.

Neurofeedback has been tested by NASA for training pilots, as a method for treating epilepsy, bed-wetting, depression and ADHD.

Although big claims have been made for neurofeedback, the results have been somewhat variable with many critical about how the studies have been designed.

While it’s unlikely to be a magical cure-all, the latest batch of more tightly controlled studies is promising.






TikTok personality Laura Lee Watts has announced that her daughter Savannah Watts has passed away aged 15 after battling epilepsy for years.

The TikTok star and mother of three confirmed the heartbreaking news with her followers in a video posted on Monday, February 13.

The 33-year-old gained popularity on social media for sharing candid stories surrounding the upbringing of her three children and short family vlogs.

In emotional tributes, many fans mourned Savannah’s passing at such a young age and sent messages of support to Laura and her family.


In a video on Monday, Laura confirmed that her 15-year-old daughter Savannah passed away after battling epilepsy since she was a child.

In previous TikTok videos, Laura had shared that Savannah was diagnosed when she was younger but sadly her seizures became worse while growing up.

“I can not believe I’m making this video and I’m going to do my best to get through it,” the mom of three shared in the heart-wrenching video. “Most of you know I have three children, and my oldest is Savannah.”

“She’s 15 and she’s epileptic. I know you guys really loved her, so I wanted to let you know that yesterday morning she had a fatal seizure and passed away,” Laura continued.

“She was the most beautiful child I’ve ever known. Beautiful soul, the kindest heart. I don’t know how I’m going to live without her.”


Savannah was diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy where seizures begin before a child turns four years old.

In a video posted in August 2021, Laura revealed Savannah developed the health condition around the age of three or four. As Savannah grew up, her seizures progressed and became more severe with time.

“Her neurologist and I always hoped that she would just outgrow it as she went through puberty but she did not — actually it just got a lot worse,” Laura explained in the video.

“She has different types of seizures and it’s really hard to control so you never know when she’s gonna have a seizure.”


Many of Laura’s followers shared tributes to Savannah in the comment section of her video and sent heartfelt condolences.

Fellow TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney said: “I am so sorry for your loss Laura Lee. I am sending you a blanket of love.”

Another fan wrote: “I am so sorry Laura. I’ve been a silent follower for years and all I want to do is give you a hug. Prayers to you and your family during this hard time.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” a third follower wrote. “I’ve been following you guys for the past two years. I’ve loved watching her grow into a beautiful woman. RIP Savannah.”


Source:, Filiz Mustafa

Biologists show how brain’s immune system response worsens epilepsy

Biologists show how brain’s immune system response worsens epilepsy

University of Iowa biologists have definitively linked the brain’s immune system to epilepsy.

In a new study, the researchers lay out a chain of events that can cause seizures—the most common manifestation of epilepsy—to worsen. The sequence begins when oxidative stress in the body causes the brain’s immune system to react. That activation by the brain’s resident immune cells (called glia) triggers more severe seizures.

The findings are important because it’s the first time the brain immune system–epilepsy link has been experimentally proved. That advance should yield more precise testing and more effective medications to treat the condition.

“We have provided genetic proof that both oxidative stress and activation of the brain immune system make epilepsy worse,” says John Manak, professor in the Department of Biology and Stead Family Department of Pediatrics at Iowa and the study’s corresponding author. “This is hugely significant because our data suggest that we can now repurpose exceedingly well-tolerated anti-inflammatory compounds as well as perhaps antioxidants to help control epilepsy progression.”

Epilepsy affects 3.4 million people—the vast majority being adults—in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Worldwide, an estimated 5 million people are diagnosed with epilepsy each year, according to the World Health Organization.

The researchers clinched the brain–epilepsy connection in experiments using fruit flies. One reason they chose the insects is because fruit flies and humans share a common ancestral gene, called prickle, that when mutated, leads to seizures. The prickle gene’s involvement in epileptic seizures was determined by, among others, Alex Bassuk, pediatric neurologist and chair of the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics at Iowa, who published findings in 2008 and is a co-author on this study.

Manak’s team also chose fruit flies for their experiments because flies, unlike humans and other vertebrates, have a single, primitive disease response mechanism, called the innate immune system, that is utilized by glial cells in the brain. Vertebrates also have an innate immune system, but that is complemented by an adaptive immune system that involves an army of immune cells with stored “memories” of past, invasive pathogens. The fruit fly’s lone innate immune system meant the researchers could concentrate exclusively on the brain innate immune system–epilepsy connection.

The researchers identified all genes that became expressed in fly brains with seizures (triggered by the mutated prickle gene) compared with those with no seizures. They identified two classes of upregulated genes associated with the seizure-laden flies: immune response genes and those involved in mitigating oxidative stress.

In further experiments with fruit flies, the researchers turned off the innate immune system in the brain glia. That action reduced neuronal cell death, which in turn suppressed seizures.

In another set of experiments with flies, the researchers tested the oxidative stress link by expressing the brain’s SOD1 gene, which is known to cleanse cells of reactive oxygen species caused by oxidative stress. When this gene was activated in the fruit fly brains, the flies’ innate immune system response was lowered, and seizures were reduced.

“In one fell swoop, we have identified a pathway starting at increased oxidative stress leading to activation of the innate immune system, which leads to neuronal cell death, which, in turn, causes exacerbation of seizures,” says Manak, who calls the study one of the highlights of his almost 40-year career as a biologist. “And when I say exacerbation of seizures, I mean progressive epilepsy, which are epilepsies that get worse over time.”

The results mean the flies can be used to directly test which anti-inflammatory drugs or antioxidants would be most effective in treating epileptic seizures. Until now, doctors had only limited evidence that a small number of anti-inflammatory or antioxidant medications had seizure-suppressive characteristics in some contexts, but no direct proof connecting oxidative stress and innate immune system activation with epilepsy. Moreover, approximately one-third of epilepsy patients do not respond well to currently available therapies, and two-thirds of patients have adverse side effects to the medications, according to the study’s authors.

“Not every anti-inflammatory or antioxidant compound is going to effectively treat epilepsy,” Manak explains. “We now have the perfect model with our flies to screen through a significant number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. We can then elevate any promising drugs to mouse models, and then potentially human trials.”

The study, “Downregulation of oxidative stress-mediated glial innate immune response suppresses seizures in a fly epilepsy model,” was published Jan. 31 in the journal Cell Reports.

The first author is Krishna Nukala, who earned a doctorate in integrated biology at Iowa in 2022 and is now a senior scientist at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Co-authors include Anthony Lilienthal, a graduate student in biology at Iowa; Shu Hui Lye, from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa; Bassuk; and Stanislava Chtarbanova, from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa.

The National Institutes of Health funded the research.


Source:, Richard C. Lewis

Myths about epilepsy debunked

Myths about epilepsy debunked

Epilepsy affects almost every aspect of the life of the person diagnosed with the condition.

On International Epilepsy Day on Monday (13/02) the emphasis was once again placed on the stigma attached to this condition.

For many people living with epilepsy, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the stigma attached to the condition is more difficult to deal with than the condition itself.

This stigma continues today and can impact the quality of life for people with the disease and their families.

Many assume that epilepsy is a mental illness, that it limits activities, or even that epilepsy is contagious.

Epilepsy is a chronic noncommunicable condition of the brain that affects around 50 million people worldwide.

It is characterised by recurrent seizures, which are brief episodes of involuntary movement that may involve a part of the body (partial) or the entire body (generalised).

Epilepsy is sometimes accompanied by loss of consciousness and, in some cases, the loss of control over bowel or bladder function.

According to, seizure episodes are a result of excessive electrical discharges in a group of brain cells. Different parts of the brain can be the site of such discharges.

Seizures can vary from the briefest lapses of attention or muscle jerks, to severe and prolonged convulsions.

Seizures can also vary in frequency, from less than one per year to several per day.

One seizure does not signify epilepsy. According to medical research, up to 10% of people worldwide have one seizure during their lifetime. The Epilepsy Foundation stated that “every brain has the potential to seize. A person with epilepsy has a lower seizure threshold – meaning they are more likely to have seizures than people without epilepsy.”

It is one of the world’s oldest recognised conditions, with records dating back to 4 000 B.C. Also, there are many different types of seizures and types of epilepsy syndromes.

Myths debunked

Characteristics of seizures vary and depend on where in the brain the disturbance first starts, and how far it spreads.

Although many underlying disease mechanisms can lead to epilepsy, the cause of the disease is still unknown in about 50% of cases globally. The causes of epilepsy are divided into broad categories of structural, genetic, infectious, metabolic, immune, and unknown.

Seizures can be controlled and up to 70% of people living with epilepsy could become seizure free with appropriate use of anti-seizure medicines.

You cannot swallow your tongue during a seizure. It is physically impossible.

Never force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure. This can lead to a chipped tooth or broken jaw.

Do not restrain someone having a seizure. Most seizures end in seconds or a few minutes.

Epilepsy is not contagious.

Anyone can develop epilepsy. Seizures start for the first time in people over 65 years, almost as often as it does in children.

Most people with epilepsy can do the same things that people without epilepsy can do.

People with epilepsy can handle jobs with responsibility and stress.

People with seizure disorders are found in all walks of life. If stress triggers their seizures, they may need to learn ways to manage stress.


Source:, Helena Barnard


How epilepsy researchers are moving the needle past anti-seizure treatments

How epilepsy researchers are moving the needle past anti-seizure treatments

On International Epilepsy Day, this news service outlines the latest efforts in treating epilepsy syndromes.

While several therapeutics are available for treating symptoms associated with epilepsy, researchers and patients have strongly called out the need for more holistic treatments that would address the condition as a whole. Although recently approved drugs can treat seizures more safely, they do not treat the comorbidities that patients experience. Several biotech companies and researchers are now exploring medical devices and gene therapies to address not just common forms of epilepsy, but also rare conditions such as Dravet Syndrome.

Epilepsy is a highly variable condition, says Thomas Ferraro, PhD, professor at Rowan University’s Department of Biomedical Sciences in Camden, New Jersey. It is associated with different types of seizures, generalised or focal, and specific syndromes that are often rare, like Dravet Syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), and Rasmussen Syndrome.

Gene therapies are an attractive way of targeting the underlying genetic mutations, but traditional approaches cannot be used while targeting mutations for Dravet Syndrome, forcing researchers to develop new ways. Meanwhile, others are researching the link between gene variation and different responses to treatments.

At the same time, continuing research into seizures remains key as many available options have side effects and do not benefit all patients. About 30% of epilepsy patients do not respond to available anti-seizure treatments, says Dr. Dario Englot, director of functional neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Surgery and Engineering in Nashville, Tennessee.

A genetic treatment for epilepsy

Most treatments for epilepsy aim to treat seizures, which is the main symptom of this condition, says Ferraro. However, these are preventive treatments rather than cures, says Dr. Paul Carney, director of child neurology and epilepsy at the University of Missouri, Columbia. But now the goal in epilepsy research is to modify the disease, says Beth Dean, CEO of CURE Epilepsy, a US-based epilepsy research funder. This is particularly the case for pediatric forms of epilepsy where gene editing techniques like  Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) are becoming more important, says Ferraro.

With the latest advances in whole genome sequencing, it is increasingly clear that rare epilepsies are largely caused by a single genomic mutation, says Ferraro. But while the community already made significant progress in researching the genetics of epilepsy, more needs to be done to understand which mutations cause specific conditions, says Laura S. Lubbers, PhD, chief scientific officer (CSO) of CURE Epilepsy.

In Dravet Syndrome, the approach is to target the SCN1a gene, which has mutations that cause the condition, explains Ferraro. Since this is a rare disease, it is fortunate that the community identified a genetic marker, writes Mary Anne Meskis, executive director of the Dravet Syndrome Foundation. However, targeting SCN1a is a challenge while designing a treatment due to its size, says Carney. Common gene therapies use vehicles such as adeno-associated vectors (AAVs), which cannot carry the required payload in this case, says Carney.

To tackle this, companies have developed different ways to focus on the gene. Stoke Therapeutics is working on an antisense oligonucleotide called STK-001. Rather than replacing mutated genes with functional copies, STK-001 promotes protein production in the healthy copy of the SCN1a gene. This is a smart strategy because the therapy can increase the amount of protein to normal levels, which can restore function, explains Carney, adding that in Dravet, one copy of the SCN1a gene is functional while the other has a mutation. Other approaches include Encoded Therapeutics’ early-stage therapy ETX101, which also works by increasing SCN1a expression.

Nevertheless, such efforts require funding, which remains the biggest challenge facing Dravet Syndrome research, says Meskis. This means that the patient community must drive seed funding for initial research, she adds. Parents and caregivers will continue playing a major role in the field going forwards, says Dr. M. Scott Perry, director of the Genetic Epilepsy Clinic at the Jane and John Justin Institute for Mind Health at Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, Texas.

New developments in the anti-seizure pipeline

Genomic screenings can also be used to sharpen the efficacy of already available treatments. In his work, Ferraro focuses on the links between gene variations and different responses to drugs. Even if it’s not a cure, a genomic approach could help with the development of more refined drugs that can target specific pathways, explains Ferraro.

Epilepsy should not be only seen as a condition with seizures, but as one that causes other cognitive deficits, he says. Some patients experience cognitive dysfunction and comorbidities that affect their memory and mood, says Dr. Jacqueline French, chief medical officer (CMO) of the US-based Epilepsy Foundation. Research into devices is also important, as it would give patients greater certainty over their lives, she adds. Moreover, about a third of epilepsy patients have depression at the time of their diagnosis, she notes. Given these issues, the field needs new anti-seizure drugs that will treat  symptoms without worsening comorbidities, says French.

Some newly approved drugs have improved the situation. UCB’s Fintepla (fenfluramine), an anti-seizure drug for Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, is a recently approved treatment that has been linked to a lower-than-expected sudden-death rate.

In November 2019, SK Life Science’s Xcopri (cenobamate) was approved for partial-onset seizures in adults. Since its approval, Xcopri’s use has ramped up in that group of patients, Dr. Vikram Rao, associate professor of clinical neurology at University of California, San Francisco’s Weill Institute for Neurosciences. While Xcopri is a treatment for only the more common epilepsies and not rare monogenetic ones, its approval was described as somewhat of a gamechanger, notes French. SK Life Science is a subsidiary of SK, a South Korean holding company.

There is also an interest in repurposed treatments such as Fintepla for rare diseases, says Carney. GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex (cannabidiol), the first-FDA approved CBD treatment, is also a valuable addition, he adds. Epidiolex is approved for Dravet Syndrome, LGS, and tuberous sclerosis complex.

A multi-pronged approach

Although new treatments are important, a key area of interest for patients remains in improving the predictability of their condition. Citing an older Epilepsy Foundation poll, French says that patients overwhelmingly say the uncertainty of when they will experience the next seizure is the most difficult aspect of their condition.

Here, medical devices can play a significant role. Based on the latest brain activity research, experts are getting better at predicting the likelihood of future seizures, says Rao. The Spanish startup mjn-neuro sells an earpiece called the mjn-SERAS that records brain activity and warns the user of high seizure risks. In October 2022, mjn-neuro signed a commercialisation agreement with the pharma company Neuraxpharm Group to market mjn-SERAS.

The Epilepsy Foundation has also made headway with its project My Seizure Gauge. The approach combines external devices such as wearables, like a Fitbit and EEG patches, with a seizure diary on a smartphone app, says French. A multi-pronged strategy is needed to manage epilepsy, says Dean. While finding a cure is the eventual target, the community also needs to focus on improving outcomes in the short-term, she adds. New treatments are also needed for pregnant women, states French.

Lubbers echoes this strategy. “There is hope. It is hard on all fronts. It is hard for families. It is hard for researchers. But in my lifetime, I have seen remarkable change and proof that there is hope and change on the horizon.”


Source:, Adam Zamecnik

Déjà Vu: Definition, Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment

Déjà Vu: Definition, Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment

Déjà vu is the feeling of having already experienced something happening for the first time. Approximately two-thirds of all people have experienced déjà vu, and for the most part, the phenomenon is harmless.

However, déjà vu has been linked to conditions such as psychiatric disorders, seizures, stress, and dementia.

This article discusses the causes, risks, and treatment of déjà vu.

What Is Déjà Vu?

Although the term didn’t originate until the late 1800s, poets and writers have been describing déjà vu for centuries. Two main definitions of “déjà vu” are:

  • “Déjà vu” is a French word that means “already seen.” This includes having previously visited, met, heard, tasted, smelled, and performed the situation in the past.
  • Déjà vu is any subjective impression of unusual familiarity without being able to link it to memory. If a person experiences a feeling of familiarity but can recall the memory responsible for the feeling, it is not considered déjà vu.

Causes of Déjà Vu

Déjà vu is challenging to research because it usually occurs unexpectedly and is short-lived; however, the phenomenon continues to intrigue scientists worldwide. Although more research is needed, here are some common causes of déjà vu:

  • Coincidence: Most episodes of déjà vu are random incidents, likely from an unconscious memory. Researchers hypothesize that if you have an unconscious memory similar to a current circumstance, it elicits the feeling of déjà vu.
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy: Seizures originating from the temporal lobe, the second largest lobe in the brain, can cause feelings of déjà vu because this brain area is responsible for emotions and memory. It’s not unusual for those with this type of epilepsy to experience a seizure aura as déjà vu.
  • Psychiatric conditions: People with schizophrenia or psychosis often report symptoms of déjà vu. In these cases, the experience lasts longer, is more intense, and can be distressing to the person. However, researchers don’t consider this to be déjà vu but rather a side effect of mental illness.
  • Paranormal event: Frequent déjà vu is considered a sign of psychic abilities in some cultures. The feeling of familiarity is seen as having lived a past life or having the ability to tell the future.
  • Dopamine: Some experts report that increased dopamine levels (brain chemical) could lead to more frequent episodes of déjà vu because of its effects on the brain.

Other studies suggest that déjà vu can occur from increased stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Since déjà vu likely originates from the brain, it makes sense that conditions affecting the brain can result in deja vu. Additionally, people with dementia also experience symptoms of deja vu.

Risk Factors and Complications of Having Déjà Vu

Researchers in one study found contributing factors for developing déjà vu among participants to could include being young (around 15–25 years old), having the ability to recall their dreams, having higher education, and having traveled frequently.

Déjà vu does not have complications unless related to a serious health condition. If you are having frequent bouts of déjà vu accompanied by the below symptoms, you should be evaluated by your healthcare provider:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizure activity
  • Loss of memory
  • Confusion
  • Change in mental status

Déjà Vu and Children

Research shows about 97% of people experience déjà vu at least once, with 67% experiencing it regularly. What’s more, children experience it the more so than adults. A small percentage of people say they had experienced déjà vu by 6 years old, while most people say they experienced it before the age of 10. Studies show a decline of reported déjà vu experiences after 25.

Treatment for Déjà Vu

The only treatment for frequent déjà vu is to correct the underlying cause, if identified. Although mostly innocent, déjà vu may be reduced by properly managing a seizure disorder, lessening stress and anxiety, and getting enough rest.


Déjà vu is a common phenomenon experienced by most people. Feeling like you’ve already experienced a new situation can be a random incident or a sign of a medical condition. You can treat déjà vu by correcting the underlying cause, if one can be identified. It’s important to tell your healthcare provider about episodes of déjà vu accompanied by hallucinations, seizure activity, or mental status changes.


Source:, Serenity Mirabito RN OCN, holas R. Metrus MD, Art: Haley Manchon

Epilepsy Day: Not Recognizing Epileptic Symptoms In Children Can Lead To Life-Long Disabilities, Say Neurologists

Epilepsy Day: Not Recognizing Epileptic Symptoms In Children Can Lead To Life-Long Disabilities, Say Neurologists

Unmarried young women not being taken for treatment because that will negatively impact their marriage prospects is another area of concern, say experts of Amrita Hospital, Faridabad.

Symptoms of epilepsy in children sometimes go unnoticed since their appearance might differ greatly from the general conception of what an epileptic episode looks like. As a result, many child patients are identified at a late stage, by which time their brain development has already been compromised, resulting in life-long cognitive and physical disability.

Ahead of International Epilepsy Day, neurologists from Amrita Hospital in Faridabad asked everybody, including physicians, to raise awareness about detecting epileptic seizures in children early and initiating treatment immediately. They were particularly concerned about the frequent habit of adolescent female epilepsy sufferers not being taken to a doctor for treatment, since parents believe this could jeopardize their daughter’s marriage chances.

“Late diagnosis of epileptic children is a major area of concern. Their brain is still developing, and recurring seizures at this stage can lead to life-long impairment. Seizures in young children often remain undiagnosed as they do not look like typical seizures, which people think essentially involve involuntary jerking and loss of consciousness. However, this does not necessarily apply to all children who have epilepsy and seizures. Symptoms of seizures in young patients can range from staring and rapid eye blinking to breathing difficulties, sudden jerks (which are mistaken as child getting afraid), going blank and not responding to words, twitching, loss of bladder control, falling suddenly without any cause, nodding head rhythmically, and appearing confused or in a haze. People, and even many doctors, are simply not aware that these are also signs of epileptic attack in children,” stated Dr. Pratibha Singhi, Head, Department of Pediatric Neurology, Amrita Hospital.

She added: “Seizures and their manifestations differ greatly in young children compared to adults. Childhood epilepsy is extremely important because of the developing brain. If seizures are not taken care of in time, they can cause epileptic encephalopathy, which depresses the child’s development and causes severe cognitive and motor disabilities. So, it’s very important to recognize seizures in children early and start treatment without loss of time. However, even after treatment starts, compliance becomes another issue. For most children whose seizures get controlled, the parents stop their medication, thinking that the child has become fine. People should realize that anti-seizure medication (ASM) should never be stopped or decreased without consulting the doctor, otherwise the child may get bad seizures again.”

“There are many stigmas associated with epilepsy in India. People avoid taking female children, especially adolescents, to a doctor because they think this might impair their marriage prospects. Parents tend not to disclose the epilepsy of their unmarried daughter to anyone. Even when the girl is epileptic and on anti-seizure medication, family members are hesitant to inform the groom’s family about the condition, causing great social and mental stress for the girl and her parents. After marriage, many girls stop taking their medication for fear of being discovered by their husband or in-laws and continue to have seizures. This can have serious consequences, especially during pregnancy when there is a risk of the unborn child also developing neurological disorders due to epileptic attacks of the mother,” said Dr. Sanjay Pandey, Head, Department of Neurology, Amrita Hospital.

He added: “We really need to get the message across that epilepsy is nothing to be ashamed of, and that many people with epilepsy have gone on to achieve great heights in the world. The stigma related to epilepsy needs to go now, so that patients continue to take proper treatment and can live a life without shame.”

Another source of concern, according to physicians at Amrita Hospital in Faridabad, is unmarried young women who refuse treatment fearing it may jeopardise their marital chances.


Source:, ABP News Bureau

Agoraphobia common in people with epilepsy, new research finds

Agoraphobia common in people with epilepsy, new research finds

A new study published in the medical journal Epilepsy Research has found correlation between agoraphobia – the acute fear of public spaces – and epilepsy.

The study, led by Dr. Heidi Munger Clary, looked at 420 adults with epilepsy over a 14-year period, who underwent neuropsychological testing at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

Different cultural and social characteristics were considered, including age, sex, ethnicity and education history.

More than one-third (36%) of the participants reported significant phobic/agoraphobic symptoms, which were independently associated with non-White ethnicity and education to less than a college degree. However, they were not linked with any epilepsy-related characteristics such as epilepsy type, seizure frequency or antiseizure medications.

Epilepsy-related quality of life was also found to be associated with agoraphobic symptoms.

In 1995, Orrin Devinsky and his team developed a scale to measure the quality of life in people with epilepsy through cognitive factors, mental and physical health.

Using this scale, high phobic symptom scores were associated with poor epilepsy-related quality of life. Moreover, while assessing factors associated with quality of life, researchers found that age, non-White ethnicity, and depression were also independently associated with poor quality of life.

According to the researchers, this may suggest that agoraphobic symptoms have a significantly negative impact on quality of life for people with epilepsy.

“Providers might want to consider more robust symptom screening methods to identify and better assist these patients”, said Dr. Munger Clary. “This may be important to improve health equity, given other key study findings that show those lower education and non-White race/ethnicity had increased odds of significant phobic/agoraphobic symptoms.”

Key results were discovered in this new study – non-White people and older people are more likely to fear public spaces, and this can have serious consequences on their mental health and overall quality of life.

The fear of experiencing seizures in public is common in people with epilepsy. The lack of awareness around this condition, and a lack of understanding about what to do if someone has a seizure can make it harder for people with epilepsy to feel safe in public spaces.

This lack of understanding and awareness also has a knock-on effect on the employment opportunities of people with epilepsy. In a 2016 poll, a quarter of respondents said they would be concerned about working with someone with epilepsy, with 63% of them explaining that it is because they had no idea about what to do to help a colleague during a seizure.

A recent survey conducted by Epilepsy Action showed that 67% of people with epilepsy are experiencing more stress due to the rising of cost of living, and, more worryingly, 2 in 5 have had more seizures as a result.

Vulnerable people need to feel safe and respected – having a seizure can be very distressing, and experiencing one in a public place, without any trained support, can also be dangerous.

Epilepsy Action has developed an Employer Toolkit with the aim to support employers to adjust their workplace for their employees with epilepsy, guaranteeing a safe space where they can do their job without fear or anxiety.

However, it is essential that the government recognises the importance of delivering training for schools, university, and workplaces. This would at least ensure that the stigma around epilepsy can be slowly erased, and that people with epilepsy are aware that public places can be safe places, too.



Truro mum and ‘super’ son walk 50 miles for epilepsy charity

Truro mum and ‘super’ son walk 50 miles for epilepsy charity

A mum and son from Truro are taking on the challenge to walk 50 miles this month.

Inspired by his favourite character, Super Mario, 7-year-old Jay Beach wanted to take on his own hero mission and raise money for Epilepsy Action.

Jay’s mum, and trusty sidekick, Zoë Beach will be joining him on his 50-mile adventure.

Jay was diagnosed with epilepsy after he had his first seizure, aged four.

Jay with mum Zoe Beach from Truro 

Zoë said: “Jay was asleep in his bed, and he made an odd noise which made my husband, Rob, go and check on him.

“Rob shouted for me, and I remember walking into Jay’s room and seeing his cover was off, his left arm was shaking and he’d lost control of his bladder.

“It didn’t last long – 30 seconds if that. Afterwards he struggled to sit up and was a little confused, but otherwise he was okay in himself.

“He had done something similar a few months back whilst he’d fallen asleep in our bed, but we just thought he had a trapped nerve.

“I called 111 and they said he needed to be seen straight away.”

Following an EEG scan, Jay was diagnosed with focal epilepsy with secondary generalisation.

Jay Beach is walking 50 miles for Epilepsy Action

“Since then, Jay’s seizures have changed a lot which is something I didn’t realise could happen. We had a good run of no seizures for about 7 months but then they came back with a vengeance,” said Zoe.

At Easter time last year, Jay had a seizure that lasted for approximately eight minutes. Zoë said: “We’d installed a camera in Jay’s bedroom to record any seizures which helped us to realise how long this particular seizure had gone on for.

“We witnessed three very long minutes of it and called for an ambulance. Unfortunately, due to Cornwall hospital being under a lot of strain, the ambulance didn’t arrive until 11 hours later.

“If Jay hadn’t shown any improvements, we would’ve taken him to hospital ourselves. Because of this he was very quickly prescribed the emergency medication buccal midazolam.”

Zoë speaks about the challenges that the family have faced following Jay’s diagnosis.

“As a family, it’s been very challenging. When Jay had his first seizure, we had not long become a family of four and had just entered the first lockdown. Only one of us could attend appointments which made it quite difficult to digest everything. That’s when we first came across the Epilepsy Action website, and I found the information on there to be extremely helpful.

“A personal challenge for me is sleeping and I now sleep very lightly. I hate the thought of Jay having a seizure on his own. I’m slowly learning to ‘relax’ as he has the camera in his room, and he has an anti-suffocation pillow so he should be safe.

“Jay has taken all of this in his stride and I couldn’t be any prouder. He sometimes gets upset and scared about having to have an EEG or if his medication is changed, but then he just gets on with it. I love how he wears it on his sleeve and openly tells people about his epilepsy.”

Jay is enjoying fundraising for Epilepsy Action and loves to explore new places with his mum on their daily walks.

Michael King, Digital events fundraiser at Epilepsy Action, said: “We’re amazed by the determination of Jay and Zoë to take on this 50-mile challenge. They’re joining hundreds of other incredible fundraisers who are really putting the steps in to raise vital funds, which help us to be there for the 625,000 people living with epilepsy in the UK when they need us most.

“We wish Jay and Zoë the best of luck with the rest of the challenge!”

Epilepsy affects around one in every 107 people in the UK and 79 people are diagnosed every day. Epilepsy Action is committed to improving the lives of people with epilepsy, by campaigning for better services and raising awareness of the condition. They provide a national network of support groups, with expert advice available on its freephone helpline 0808 800 5050.


Source:, The packet,  Image: Epilepsy Action

‘Love Like Allyson’: 29-year-old donates organs after losing battle with epilepsy

‘Love Like Allyson’: 29-year-old donates organs after losing battle with epilepsy

Before she passed, Allyson made a decision to become an organ donor at age 17.

Certain emails hit hard, like one received last week about this beautiful woman, Allyson.

Allyson’s mom sent the email. She did so because Allyson is no longer here to be able to write it herself.

Teri Julian said her daughter died at 29 years old, after a lifelong battle with epilepsy.

She was hospitalized in October of 2020 with uncontrolled seizures, aspirated during one of them, went into cardiac arrest, and was then on life support for six days. Testing afterward showed she was brain dead.

”As her mom, my worst fear was she’d be forgotten,” Teri said. “I wanted her spirit of kindness to continue in our community.”

From that intent to carry on a spirit of kindness, came “Love Like Allyson,” a mission, a thought, a goodness that her mom keeps in the forefront as she tries to inspire others.

It is not a 501©3 or non-profit. It’s merely a mindset Teri tries to spread.

She does have a Facebook page explaining more, here >>> Love Like Allyson.

”When we step outside ourselves and see others and their needs, we rise above our own human imperfections and step into transcendent love,” Teri said. “Never did we think Allyson would be called home so soon. It still hurts so much. Allyson was giving, compassionate, kind, and courageous. With ‘Love Like Allyson,’ we promote these attributes.”

They also promote organ donation. When Allyson was 17, she checked the heart box at the DMV so, on Oct. 30, 2020, her family honored those wishes and donated Allyson’s lungs, both kidneys, and corneas.

”Our family has had the blessing of meeting several of her organ recipients,” Teri said. “A lung recipient was in Texas, and the recipient of her right kidney lives in Shelby, North Carolina. Organ donation is a life-changing gift, we’ve now seen for ourselves.”

Allyson lived in Mooresville. Since her death, her family has hosted grass-roots events and spread her story throughout the Iredell County area.

”We’ve hosted three benefited charity presales, and given 100% of the ticket money sale to The Addison Hutchison Foundation, the Mooresville Kindness Closet, Bright Blessings LKN and scholarships for WinShape Camps (Mooresville, NC),” Teri said. “We also collected beanies and gloves for homeless shelters, and gathered 5,428 pairs of socks. We distributed those socks to area-shelters all over North Carolina. And because Allyson’s favorite flowers were sunflowers, I buy dozens of sunflowers and randomly give them to strangers in parking lots twice a year, and share my daughter’s organ donation story.”

Teri says little things like that add up, to feel big.

“Oh!” she added at the end of her note. “And another thing we do? On what would be Allyson’s birthday, December 29th, we’ve gone to the local grocery and surprise-paid for someone’s birthday cake in her honor.”

Next week is Valentine’s Day. Feb. 14 also happens to be National Organ Donor Day. It’s a great time to share Allyson’s spirit, and her mom’s remarkable efforts to keep that spirit alive.

”We hope Allyson’s story will bring on a conversation with someone about organ donation,” Teri said. “Allyson made that unselfish decision to help someone else, when she was only 17. We never thought our precious girl would run to heaven before us, but we are grateful she made the decision to check that box in case of an untimely death, because that became beautiful light in the middle of our grief.”

We often read articles about recipients of organ donations: Those are important. But how special tonight to read a note from the mom of a donor hero.

– Molly

PS: I know Allyson is older than what we would normally consider the age of one of our amazing MollysKids. But she made the decision to be an organ donor at 17, and I think that counts for something important. She was just a teen when she decided to save other lives, if needed…and then she did.


Source:, Molly Graantham

Mehendi fragrance leads to epileptic seizures in nine-year-old girl

Mehendi fragrance leads to epileptic seizures in nine-year-old girl

The curious case of a nine-year-old girl suffering an epileptic attack due to the application of mehendi has made it to the latest edition of Clinical Neurophysiology. The case was reported in Delhi’s Sir Gangaram Hospital.

The nine-year-old suffered her first convulsion after applying mehendi to her hands two years back. The convulsion lasted for 20 seconds.

Recently, she suffered the same epileptic attack soon after applying mehendi twice after which she was brought to the hospital. In hospital settings, she was put under observation with mehendi being applied under a controlled environment.

After application, the patient’s hand was brought near the chest of the patient, and she started having seizures.

Video- electroencephalography revealed an organized background with a posterior rhythm of 9 Hz. The patient became restless which was followed by seizures, the hospital reported.

What emerged is the mere application of the mehendi didn’t trigger the seizures. The fragrance was causing the convulsions.

Dr (Col) P.K. Sethi, Senior Consultant, Department of Neurology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital while addressing the case told, “this was an unusual case of Reflex Epilepsy, where epileptic seizures are consistently induced by identifiable and objective–specific triggers as against other epileptic seizures which are usually unprovoked. In our reported case, seizures were consistently induced by the application of mehndi.”

“In our patient seizures were not triggered by mere application of mehendi on hands and feet rather it was the fragrance which acted as the stimulus leading to stimulation of functional anatomic networks,” the doctor adds.

The patient is stable now.


Source:, Joymala Bagchi


Study finds distinct differences in how the brain releases dopamine in patients with alcohol use disorder

Study finds distinct differences in how the brain releases dopamine in patients with alcohol use disorder

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s made in the brain and acts as a chemical messenger, communicating between nerve cells in the brain and the rest of the body. Dopamine can impact how people think and feel. While it’s most often associated with being a “feel-good” hormone, its role in functions such as movement, cognition and learning is an area of current research. Researchers are also working to better understand the impact that substance abuse or addiction disorders have on dopamine levels and behavior.

In a new study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, scientists have demonstrated that the connection between dopamine and counterfactual information, which is related to the psychological notions of regret and relief, appears altered by alcohol use disorder.

The findings appear in the February issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Kenneth T. Kishida, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and pharmacology and neurosurgery at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, studies neurotransmitters and their role in human behavior and decision-making. Using fast scan cyclic voltammetry, an electrochemical technique, Kishida’s team can detect and measure serotonin and dopamine in real-time. Taking these measurements is very challenging and can only be done during invasive procedures such as deep-brain stimulation (DBS) brain surgery, which is commonly used to treat conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

For this study, Kishida’s team collaborated with neurosurgeons Stephen B. Tatter, M.D., and Adrian W. Laxton, M.D., to insert a carbon fiber microelectrode deep into the brain of four participants at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center who were scheduled to receive DBS to treat their movement disorders. Two of the participants had a history of alcohol use disorder, and two did not.

While the participants were awake in the operating room, they played a simple computer game. As they played the game, dopamine measurements were taken in the striatum, the part of the brain that controls cognition, reward and coordinated movements.

“We measured dopamine once every 100 milliseconds during a sequence of fairly simple decisions,” Kishida said.

The game involved a series of choices between sure bets or 50%-chance gambles for small amounts of money. Each task involved one simple decision. On one side of the screen, the patient saw one number, a “sure bet.” If the study participant selected the sure bet, they would “win” that amount. On the other side of the screen, the participant saw two numbers, which were separated by a line. This was the gamble outcome, and the participant would “win” either of the two numbers with an equal 50% chance.

Sometimes taking the gamble was technically the better outcome, but sometimes, it wasn’t. We were able to assess how the participants made choices and what dopamine was doing as they did so.”

Kenneth T. Kishida, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and pharmacology and neurosurgery at Wake Forest University School of Medicine

The research team found distinct differences in how the brain releases dopamine based on participants’ alcohol use disorder history. Dopamine levels in participants with alcohol use disorder, following game outcomes associated with relief, were lower than in patients without alcohol use disorder.

“We’ve shown before that dopamine levels in humans seems to track information related to regret and relief,” Kishida said. Previous research suggests that learning from regret is impaired in patients with alcohol use disorder.

“In our study, dopamine measurements, at these really fast timescales, appear altered in patients with a history of alcohol use disorder. When their choice was the best it could have been, we see dopamine levels falling when we expected it to increase like we observed in patients without alcohol use disorder,” Kishida said.

Kishida acknowledged that a major limitation of the study is the limited sample size.

“Much more work is needed,” Kishida said. “However, to my knowledge, these represent the first investigations of dopamine signals on sub-second timescales in humans with alcohol use disorder.”

Kishida said larger studies are needed to gain more insight on these fast chemical fluctuations in the human brain, what they mean for decision-making processes and whether they are altered in humans with addiction disorders.


Source:,  Emily Henderson,