What School Staff Should Know About Seizure First Aid

What School Staff Should Know About Seizure First Aid

For kids with epilepsy, seizures can strike at any time. Here’s what you can do to help

Seizures, a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain, can impact thinking, muscle control, movement, speech, vision or awareness.

Although brief, seizures can frighten patients and those surrounding them, especially if they’re unfamiliar with what steps to take when a seizure occurs.

“In Michigan, we have 13,600 children living with epilepsy, a disorder that causes recurring seizures that can happen out of the blue,” said Sarah Dixon, M.D., a pediatric neurologist at the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Despite its prevalence, there is currently no structured training about epilepsy and seizures for school personnel or volunteers in Michigan.

“There are over 4,200 students per one school nurse in Michigan. Relying on school nurses to help all the children who are living with epilepsy is an unrealistic expectation,” said Dixon.

Training more school personnel and volunteers on seizure first aid can help alleviate this burden and allow those in the school environment to be more prepared should a seizure occur.

How to identify a seizure

Seizures look different for every person who has epilepsy.

Most often, people envision seizures as when someone’s body becomes stiff and starts to make involuntary jerking movements.

But there are many other seizure types, says Dixon.

Sometimes, people experience stiffening and jerking movements on one side of the body, while they’re still conscious and aware of their surroundings.

Some people may stare off into space and be unresponsive during their seizure.

Others describe a funny feeling in their body or stomach, experience déjà vu or detect a certain smell before their seizure starts.

“Because there’s a broad range of what a seizure can look like, it is important that kids have a seizure action plan. This describes what their typical seizures look like, when to give rescue medication, and when to call 911,” said Dixon.

Seizure first aid

When administering seizure first aid, follow the three S’s: Stay, Safe, Side. The procedure remains the same when helping people of any age who are experiencing a seizure.

1. Stay – Remain with the person for the duration of the seizure.

Try to remain calm and check if they have a medical ID which indicates an epilepsy diagnosis and important treatment information.

Start a timer when the seizure begins. Some seizures last seconds while others may be minutes long.

A seizure lasting five minutes or longer is considered a potentially life-threatening emergency.

2. Safe – Remove the person from any potentially hazardous situations to prevent injury. Remove any harmful or sharp objects nearby.

If the person has not lost consciousness, but is wandering or confused, help steer them clear of dangerous situations such as traffic if they’re walking close to a road or heights if they’re near a place they could fall.

If a seizure occurs in the tub or pool, remove the person from the water.

3. Side – If the person loses consciousness, lay them on the ground and put them on their side with their mouth pointing toward the ground.

This prevents saliva from blocking the airway and allows them to breathe more easily.

Seizure don’ts

  • Do not place anything in the person’s mouth. Putting something in the person’s mouth could block their airway. The jaw can tighten strongly during seizures which could cause them to break the item and chip a tooth or choke.
  • Do not restrain the person. Trying to forcibly hold someone down is not going to stop the seizure from happening and it could potentially lead to injuries.

When to call 911

“If you’re ever questioning whether to call 911 when administering seizure first aid, call. No one will fault you for getting help in a situation where you’re not sure what to do,” said Dixon.

There are specific situations when you should immediately call 911:

  • A seizure lasts five minutes or longer
  • A person has one seizure back to back without regaining consciousness between seizures
  • The person is having trouble breathing or appears to be choking
  • There’s a risk they aspirated water
  • This is the first time that person has ever had a seizure

Increasing training

“One in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime – more commonly in childhood or as an older adult,” said Dixon.

“Knowing that epilepsy is more common in children, it makes sense to ensure our school personnel and volunteers and educated and prepared to respond to a seizure until emergency medical help arrives,” said Dixon.

The Epilepsy Foundation is a great resource to bring seizure education to communities.

They offer free seizure first aid training programs where they educate participants about how to recognize and respond to seizures.

“I’m particularly passionate about increasing seizure first aid training to make sure our patients who have epilepsy are supported as best as they can be in our community and especially in the school environment,” said Dixon.

 

Source: goodmenproject.com, Patricia DeLacey

Denver-based Cubby Beds gives families comfort caring for children with disabilities

Denver-based Cubby Beds gives families comfort caring for children with disabilities

Raising a child with a disability is a full-time job. And often, it means the parents get little or no sleep. But Denver-based Cubby Beds built an encompassing solution so everyone can rest easy.

Cubby Beds are much more than a cool-looking place for kids to sleep. They’re a fortress of family care.

“Cubby Beds are a smart safety bed for people with cognitive conditions like autism, epilepsy, and dementia,” said founder and CEO Caleb Polley.

Polley helped launch the product in 2020, as a cozy escape for kids with disabilities.

“We wanted to make it as friendly as possible,” Polley said. “It has curves. And it’s got a smiley face design.”

But it has tons of features, like a technology hub, to help the parents sleep too.

“It has a camera with a two-way microphone,” Polley said.

And it has a video stream that can be recorded in case the child has an episode in the middle of the night. It also has ambient lighting and sounds that can be controlled through an app, a temperature sensor, extra padding, and a tent-like enclosure.

But it comes at a cost, and Polley wants to encourage potential customers to have medical documentation to involve insurance.

“It’s an expensive product,” Polley said. “It’s a medical device. So the wonderful thing about insurance is most of these families pay little to nothing out of pocket.”

The full-sized beds are meant to give parents peace of mind, and children a blanket, from what can otherwise be an exhausting circumstance.

“It means that parent has constant paranoia and worry,” Polley said. “It means they can’t sleep, and that cascades into their job, their marriage, and the other siblings in the house… Our whole goal is to make an environment that is calming, that is customizable for their unique needs, and that ultimately helps them sleep.”

 

 

Source: denver7.com, Brian Sanders

Focal Epilepsy: What Happens in One-Sided Brain Seizures?

Focal Epilepsy: What Happens in One-Sided Brain Seizures?

Seizures That Don't Affect the Entire Brain

Focal epilepsy is when people have recurrent seizures that may cause symptoms affecting only one side of the body. Seizures in epilepsy can be focal or generalized.

Focal epilepsy seizures, sometimes called partial seizures, involve more limited symptoms than generalized epilepsy seizures. A key difference is that a small area of brain damage usually causes focal epilepsy seizures. Generalized seizures can start on both sides of the brain, although some forms of generalized seizures start on one side and then secondarily generalize to both sides.

Focal epilepsy seizures can begin at any age—from infancy to adulthood—and usually are controlled with medication or other interventions. You may need to take precautions if you or your child has focal epilepsy—such as not swimming alone and avoiding alcohol.

Medical care and lifestyle considerations allow you to enjoy a normal life and manage your condition safely. This article will describe the symptoms and effects of focal epilepsy, causes, treatment, and seizure prevention.

Effect of Focal Epilepsy Symptoms

Focal epilepsy seizures cause either involuntary movements, unexpected sensations, changes in consciousness, or a combination of these symptoms.

Common symptoms of a focal seizure include:

  • Stiffening of one side of the body or one limb
  • Jerking or shaking of one side of the body or one limb
  • Unusual feelings or perceptions, such as smells
  • A sense of déjà vu, dread, or unexplained anxiety
  • Face or mouth movements
  • Twisting or unusual posture of one side of the body
  • Diminished responsiveness

A focal epilepsy seizure will include one or more of these symptoms but will not include all of them. These symptoms may last for about 10 seconds to one minute.

Secondary Generalization

A focal onset seizure can remain a focal seizure throughout the whole episode, or it can secondarily generalize, becoming a generalized seizure. This means that the seizure can spread to both sides of the brain, and the symptoms can affect both sides of the body.

When that happens, the focal seizure symptoms may last for a short time, and the seizure can appear exactly like a generalized onset seizure, which is a seizure that starts on both sides of the brain.

Symptoms of a generalized seizure include involuntary movements on both sides of the body, unawareness, and unresponsiveness.

How Focal Epilepsy Is Diagnosed

A diagnosis of focal epilepsy is based on a combination of:

  • Medical history (including risk factors)
  • Symptoms
  • Physical examination
  • Diagnostic tests

Often, an electroencephalogram (EEG) can detect a seizure focus, or a brain imaging test can identify a change that’s consistent with focal epilepsy.

Are Focal Epilepsy Seizures Chronic?

For most people, focal epilepsy can be well managed with medication, but it typically requires lifelong treatment.

Focal epilepsy seizures can bring safety risks. Having seizures can result in serious injuries and physical harm from falling or accidents that could occur during a seizure. Treatment for preventing focal seizures is the best way to avoid these types of harmful outcomes.

People rarely grow out of focal epilepsy because a small area of damage in the brain usually causes this type of epilepsy. Focal epilepsy causes can be present from birth or may develop later in life due to problems such as head trauma or a stroke.

These types of brain damage do not heal on their own, but the symptoms that they cause can sometimes be managed with treatment.

Sometimes focal epilepsy can be cured if the seizures are caused by removable growths in the brain, like a tumor or a brain aneurysm (a bulge in the wall of an artery in the brain).

If they’re not treated, these growths can cause significant disabilities—including vision loss or permanent paralysis. But if growths in the brain are surgically removed or treated with radiation therapy, then sometimes the seizures may stop happening, and associated disabilities may be prevented.

Types of Focal Epilepsy

The classification systems for focal epilepsy are:

  • By location in the brain: Frontal lobe epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy, parietal lobe epilepsy, thalamic epilepsy
  • By effect on consciousness: Simple focal epilepsy (does not affect consciousness), complex focal epilepsy (causes impaired consciousness)
  • Childhood focal epilepsy syndromes: Self-limited epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes, self-limited epilepsy with autonomic seizures, childhood occipital visual epilepsy, photosensitive occipital lobe epilepsy

Treatment and Focal Epilepsy Prevention

Treatment for focal epilepsy is intended to control the condition by preventing seizures. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are the most common treatments for focal epilepsy, but sometimes epilepsy surgery or surgically implanted devices for seizure control may be options for some people.

Medication for focal epilepsy include:

  • Tegretol (carbamazepine)
  • Topamax (topiramate)
  • Keppra (levetiracetam)
  • Dilantin (phenytoin)
  • Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)
  • Zonegran (zonisamide)
  • Lamictal (lamotrigine)

You and your healthcare provider, usually a neurologist, will discuss your symptoms and seizure types to determine which treatment is likely to be most effective for you.

Epilepsy Surgery

Sometimes it’s clear from diagnostic testing that focal epilepsy is starting from a specific area of the brain. In some circumstances, surgery can help treat the seizures.

For example, if focal seizures are caused by a single brain tumor, a brain aneurysm, or a small area of developmental change in the brain from birth, the area can sometimes be treated surgically to prevent seizures.

Additionally, some epilepsy devices are designed to provide electrical stimulation to the brain at a frequency that suppresses seizures from occurring.

Surgical interventions for focal epilepsy include:

  • Brain tumor removal
  • Brain aneurysm repair
  • Lesionectomy, creating a lesion (cut) in a congenital (from birth) seizure area
  • Resection (removing an area of the brain that causes seizures)
  • Vagus nerve stimulation

What Causes One-Sided Seizures in the Brain?

Focal seizures occur due to erratic electrical activity in a region of the brain. Symptoms correspond to the affected area of the brain. This area is often referred to as a seizure focus. Sometimes, the electrical activity can spread to other areas of the brain, causing secondary generalization and more severe seizure symptoms.

Risk factors for focal epilepsy include:

  • Developmental brain differences during prenatal (before birth) development
  • Genetic neurodevelopmental syndromes
  • Damage from a stroke (blockage of blood flow or bleeding in the brain)
  • Head trauma, which can cause a brain contusion (bruising), subdural hematoma (bleeding between the brain and its outer lining), or epidural hematoma (blood between the outer lining of the brain and the skull)
  • A brain tumor or the spread of cancer into the brain
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Meningitis (infection or inflammation of the lining around the brain) or encephalitis (brain infection)
  • A cyst or an abscess in the brain

Sometimes, seizures are the first sign that someone has an underlying risk factor, but the risk factor is sometimes known before seizures occur.

During a Focal Epilepsy Seizure: Safety and Support

While focal epilepsy seizures can sometimes have minor symptoms, the seizures can be dangerous or might lead to injuries. Focal epilepsy seizures that generalize could also cause you to have significant physical risks from falling.

If you have recurrent focal epilepsy seizures, it’s important that you take precautions because you could be at risk of having a breakthrough seizure even if they are well controlled.

Things to be cautious about include:

  • Swimming: Don’t swim alone, and make sure that you are with a person who could rescue you if necessary (even if you’re swimming in shallow water).
  • Driving: States have different regulations about driving and epilepsy. Discuss your risk with your neurologist.
  • Using equipment: Some types of machinery can be dangerous to yourself or others if you have a seizure. This may include construction equipment or commercial vehicles. Make sure you aren’t working in situations that could be hazardous in the case of a seizure.
  • Childcare: If you are a parent or child care worker, you might need to ensure that there is another adult around in case you have a seizure.

Safety considerations are specific to your seizure symptoms, lifestyle, and responsibilities. You might benefit from advice and tips that you could gain by joining a support group.

During a Seizure

If someone who has epilepsy is having a seizure while you are around, stay nearby until the episode is over and the person is fully alert. Do not try to stop their movements or put anything in their mouth.

When they are fully alert, help them find a safe place to sit. Explain what happened to them.

You should get emergency help by calling 911 if you are not familiar with their seizure history. If you know the person and their seizure history pattern and this seizure is part of that pattern, you may not need to call 911.

Check for their emergency information and ensure they make it home safely, preferably with a trusted family member or friend monitoring them at home.

Calling 911 is recommended in these cases:

  • They are having a prolonged seizure or sequential seizures lasting for longer than five minutes.
  • You see they are injured.
  • They don’t wake up right after the seizure.
  • They are having difficulty breathing.
  • The seizure happened in water.
  • You know the person has never had a seizure before.
  • You know that the person is pregnant or has diabetes or heart disease.

Summary

Focal epilepsy seizures are seizures that affect one area of the brain and one side of the body, sometimes with subtle symptoms affecting awareness. A focal seizure can generalize and affect both sides of the brain and body. It can often be hard to tell the difference between focal seizures and generalized seizures.

Since the medical therapy of focal epilepsy and generalized epilepsy differs, diagnostic tests are used to distinguish focal epilepsy from generalized epilepsy.

It’s very important that you stay on track with your medical therapy if you have epilepsy. Getting the right treatment can help you live a full life with minimal interruptions due to your epilepsy.

 

Source: yahoo.com, Smita Patel, MD

Bad Night’s Sleep Could Be a Symptom of These Health Problems

Bad Night’s Sleep Could Be a Symptom of These Health Problems

A third of American adults say they sleep less than the recommended seven to nine hours. The optimal amount of sleep is highly dependent on the individual, but most people would likely be happier and healthier if they had between 60 and 90 minutes more sleep per night, according to the American Psychological Association.

But even people who get the recommended amount of uninterrupted sleep may be troubled by daytime fatigue and excessive sleepiness because of a variety of conditions that cause sleep problems.

To compile a list of 16 health problems associated with sleep disturbances, 24/7 Tempo reviewed dozens of articles in publications such as the Sleep Foundation, Science Daily, and National Institutes of Health.

Sleep quantity and quality have both been found to increase the risk of certain diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. These and other conditions can also be the medical cause for sleep problems.

Sleep occurs in several stages. In the first, which lasts a few minutes, your eyes are closed but you’re still alert. In the second, light sleep, your heart rate slows and your temperature drops. Next is deep sleep, when the body repairs muscles and tissues. The last phase is REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, during which you dream and form memories.

Each of these four stages has its own role in promoting good health.

Anxiety

Sleep problems are one of several physical symptoms of anxiety disorders. People struggling with anxiety are much more likely to experience serious sleep disturbances when facing stress, according to the Sleep Foundation. In some cases, falling asleep is not a problem, but frequently waking up with worry is.

Sleep and anxiety are strongly connected. A change in one will influence the other, according to Joshua Tal, a clinical psychologist with a specialty in sleep disorders.

Arthritis

It’s common for people with musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis to have trouble sleeping. Over 80% of people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis report fatigue. Arthritis patients may wake up feeling stiff and achy. Lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep lowers the pain threshold in arthritis and makes it more difficult for people to manage the pain because of higher levels of stress hormones in the body, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Bipolar disorder

Most people who have bipolar disorder have problems with their sleep — both sleeping too much during a depression stage and feeling like they don’t need much sleep at all during a full mania stage. In fact, such sleep disturbances are often a sign of an imminent period of mania. Some research has suggested that sleep improvement may help ease bipolar symptoms.

Cancer There is some evidence indicating that irregular sleep increases the risk of cancer because how body cells grow and divide is highly influenced by the circadian rhythm, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But sleep problems may be a symptom of cancer, too.

About half of people diagnosed with cancer experience sleep disturbances, usually insomnia and irregular sleep-wake cycles (meaning there is no clear circadian rhythm), according to the National Cancer Institute. Cancer patients’ sleep difficulties may be the direct result of pressure from the tumor, nausea, pain, or trouble breathing.

Dementia

Dementia and sleep problems are connected. Though experts are not sure which comes first, it is believed that disturbed sleep may be one of the earliest symptoms of dementia. Daytime sleepiness and fragmented sleep at night are common among people with dementia, who, as a result, may take frequent naps during the day.

Sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder in which people stop breathing while sleeping, is common among dementia patients, and research has found a link between the sleep disorder and a higher risk of developing dementia.

Diabetes

About half of people with type 2 diabetes struggle with sleep problems, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep deprivation can lead to less insulin, which controls blood sugar levels, and more cortisol, which further hinders insulin’s job. The combination leads to high blood sugar levels, which can lead to insomnia. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, a condition in which a person has an irresistible urge to move the legs at night, are common among diabetics.

Epilepsy

As few as a quarter and as many as 55% of people diagnosed with epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes seizures, have insomnia, according to the Sleep Foundation. The insomnia may be a direct result of nighttime seizures. Other sleep disorders are also common in people with epilepsy. Doctors are not sure why exactly how lack of sleep may trigger seizures, but one theory is that sleep deprivation leads to large changes in the electrical activity of the brain, causing a seizure.

Heart disease

Chest pain and discomfort are sometimes caused by heart disease, and they can make it hard to relax and fall or stay asleep. Lying down can make a person feel short of breath. As many as 44% of people with heart problems also experience insomnia, according to the American College of Cardiology.

Heart disease causes sleep problems, and sleep disturbances can take a toll on the heart and increase the risk of developing heart disease. According to the National Sleep Foundation, studies suggest that even teenagers who do not get enough quality sleep are at higher risk of heart disease because they have higher cholesterol, blood pressure, and BMIs, as well as more abdominal fat.

High blood pressure

Even one night of inadequate sleep in people already suffering from hypertension can cause elevated blood pressure throughout the following day, research has shown. A 2015 study published in the journal Hypertension that observed 200 people with chronic insomnia found that people who took 14 minutes to fall asleep were three times more likely to have high blood pressure. The longer it took to fall asleep, the higher the risk of developing hypertension. Normal high blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 or lower.

Kidney disease

Sleep disorders such as insomnia, excessive sleepiness, and sleep apnea are common among people living with chronic kidney disease. Sleep disturbances in patients with kidney disease may be due to uremia, a condition involving high levels of toxins in the blood due to the kidneys not filtering them properly.

Weight gain

Sleep loss can disturb energy expenditure because of its effect on leptin, an appetite suppressor, and ghrelin, an appetite increaser. Less leptin and more ghrelin explain why sleep-deprived people are hungry more often and why they tend to have a higher body mass index. People who do not get a lot of sleep often prefer comfort foods, including junk food, which is high in fat, salt, and sugar, all of which can lead to weight gain.

Slow metabolism

A person’s metabolism will not function properly if they are sleep deprived. Evidence has suggested that insufficient sleep has a significant influence on metabolism because it alters glucose metabolism and decreasing leptin and increasing ghrelin. Both hormones are involved in regulating metabolism.

Parkinson’s disease

Most people with Parkinson’s disease experience sleep disturbances, the most common of which are difficulty falling asleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, restless legs syndrome, and waking up to go to the bathroom. There is some evidence suggesting that sleep problems are one of the earliest signs of the nervous system disorder.

Schizophrenia

There is no evidence that sleep disturbances cause psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, but people diagnosed with the disorder often have sleep problems. In fact, psychiatric disorders are a leading cause of insomnia. People with schizophrenia may have irregular sleep patterns, sleeping at any time during the day or night. Both lack of sleep and excessive sleep are common. In some cases, psychotic symptoms cause anxiety, making it hard for people to fall asleep.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea, a common condition that many people don’t even know they have, is much more serious than a few bad nights of sleep. If undiagnosed, sleep apnea — a disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep — can increase the risk of heart disease.

Symptoms include snoring, daytime fatigue, dry mouth when waking up, night sweats, and waking up frequently at night. Inconsistent sleep and low blood oxygen levels as a result of the pauses in breathing can also lead to chronic fatigue, hypertension, anxiety, and memory problems.

Thyroid disease

The thyroid gland makes hormones that affect many bodily functions. So any kind of issues with the thyroid — whether it’s over- or underactive — can cause problems, including with sleep. People with an overactive thyroid may have trouble sleeping because of feelings of nervousness, irritability, and fatigue as well as night sweats and needing to go to the bathroom many times during the night.

People with an underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism, may have trouble sleeping because of joint and muscle pain as well as feeling cold. Hypothyroidism is the leading cause of hypersomnia, which is a feeling of excessive sleepiness or drowsiness on a daily basis, according to the Sleep Foundation.

 

Source: 247wallst.com, Hristina Byrnes

 

Levetiracetam Shows Efficacy as First-Line Treatment for Women With Epilepsy

Levetiracetam Shows Efficacy as First-Line Treatment for Women With Epilepsy

Among girls and women of reproductive age with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, levetiracetam is more effective than lamotrigine as an initial monotherapy.

Levetiracetam may be an alternative initial monotherapy for girls and women of reproductive age with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME), but not for those with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE), according to study findings published in JAMA Neurology.

IGE is a common form of epilepsy that has traditionally been treated with valproate. The use of valproate, however, is not recommended for women of reproductive age due to the risk for major congenital malformations and neurodevelopmental disorders.

For the study, researchers sought to evaluate whether levetiracetam or lamotrigine may be an alternative therapeutic option. The researchers sourced data for this comparative effectiveness cohort study from a population of patients who attended 22 epilepsy centers between 1994 and 2022. Girls or women aged 10 to 50 with IGE who used levetiracetam or lamotrigine  were evaluated for treatment failure. Treatment failure was defined as medication discontinuation due to ineffectiveness or adverse effects or the addition of a second medication due to ineffectiveness. To balance for cohort differences, an inverse probability of treatment weighting approach was used.

Our data suggest the use of levetiracetam as initial alternative monotherapy in patients with JME …

The levetiracetam and lamotrigine cohorts comprised girls or women who were:

  • mean age, 17 and 17,
  • 31.7% and 35.1% had a family history of seizure,
  • 9.6% and 7.4% had a history of febrile seizures,
  • 11.9% and 16.9% had a psychiatric comorbidity, and
  • 3.2% and 4.3% had a mild intellectual disability, respectively.

The IGE etiology differed significantly between medication cohorts, in which more levetiracetam users had JME (51.9% vs 42%) or epilepsy with generalized tonic-clonic seizures (32.7% vs 31.6%) and fewer had absence epilepsy (15.4% vs 26.4%) compared with lamotrigine users, respectively.

The average initial maintenance dose was 219 mg for levetiracetam and 1197 mg lamotrigine.

Overall, 238 treatment failure events occurred, in which more failures occurred among lamotrigine users compared with levetiracetam users. In the multivariate analysis, compared with lamotrigine, levetiracetam was associated with decreased risk for treatment failure.

Stratified by IGE etiology, compared with lamotrigine, levetiracetam was associated with a decreased risk for treatment failure among patients with JME but not among patients with absence seizure  or generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

In a sensitivity analysis, levetiracetam was associated with increased odds of freedom from seizures at 12 months and was less likely to be associated with myoclonic seizure worsening compared with lamotrigine, respectively.

The rate of adverse effects was higher among patient who received levetiracetam compared with those who received lamotrigine.

The limitations of this study included its retrospective design and the heterogeneous distribution across the IGE subsyndromes.

The researchers concluded, “Our data suggest the use of levetiracetam as initial alternative monotherapy in patients with JME, whereas further studies are warranted to investigate the comparative effectiveness and safety of VPA [valproate] alternatives in IGE syndromes other than JME in female patients of childbearing age.”

Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

 

Source: neurologyadvisor.com, Jessica Nye, PhD

Unlocking The Secrets Of Epileptic Seizures: Insights From Sleep And Stress – Study

Unlocking The Secrets Of Epileptic Seizures: Insights From Sleep And Stress – Study

Sleeping patterns and stress hormones could be the key to understanding how and when people with epilepsy are likely to experience seizures, a new study reveals.

Researchers used mathematical modelling to understand the impact of different physiological processes, such as sleep and changes in concentration of the stress-hormone cortisol, on key signatures of epilepsy – known as epileptiform discharges (ED).

Epilepsy is a serious neurological disorder characterized by a tendency to have recurrent, spontaneous seizures. Classically, seizures were assumed to occur at random, until the discovery of ED activity with timescales that vary from hours and days through to months.

The scientists analyzed 24-hour EEG recordings from 107 people with idiopathic generalized epilepsy and discovered two subgroups with distinct distributions of epileptiform discharges: one with highest incidence during sleep and the other during daytime.

Our findings provide conceptual evidence that sleep patterns and changes in concentration of cortisol are underlying physiological drivers of rhythms of epileptiform discharges.

Dr Isabella Marinelli

Publishing their findings in PLOS Computational Biology, the international research team led by the University of Birmingham, reveal that either the dynamics of cortisol or sleep stage transition, or a combination of both, explained most of the observed distributions of ED.

Lead author Isabella Marinelli, from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Systems Modelling & Quantitative Biomedicine (SMQB), said:

“Some 65 million people have epilepsy worldwide, many of whom report specific triggers that make their seizures more likely – the most common of which include stress, sleep deprivation and fatigue.

“Our findings provide conceptual evidence that sleep patterns and changes in concentration of cortisol are underlying physiological drivers of rhythms of epileptiform discharges. Our mathematical approach provides a framework for better understanding what factors facilitate the occurrence of ED activity and potentially trigger the seizures which can be so debilitating for epilepsy sufferers.”

Maths model

The researchers’ mathematical model describes the activity of connected brain regions, and how the excitability of these regions can change in response to different stimuli – either transitions between sleep stages or variation in concentration of cortisol.

ED frequency increases during the night, early in the morning, and in stressful situations in many people with epilepsy. The team discovered that sleep accounted for 90% of variation in one subgroup and cortisol around 60% in the other subgroup.

Cortisol is one of the primary stress hormones in humans, with production and secretion controlled by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis. In stressful situations, HPA-axis activity increases, resulting in a higher secretion of cortisol.

Dr Marinelli said:

“Sleep alone cannot account for the changes in ED likelihood during wakefulness observed in our first subgroup. There is a reduction in ED likelihood during the sleep time after an initial sharp increase during the first hours.

“This can be explained by the fact that deep sleep, which is linked to an increase of EDs, is predominant during the first third of the sleep period. We found an increase in ED occurrence before waking, which – given that the level of cortisol is known to increase around waking – suggests a combined effect of sleep and cortisol.”

 

Source: indiaeducationdiary.in

Signs of a Seizure Coming On in Someone Else

Signs of a Seizure Coming On in Someone Else

A seizure results from a temporary change in the brain’s electrical function. When it occurs, a person affected by a seizure might appear to have abnormal muscle movements, unusual behavior, or lose consciousness.

Approximately 1 in 10 people may have at least one seizure during their lifetime. Seizures occur commonly enough that knowing seizure first aid can be beneficial.

This article discusses seizure signs in children and adults and what to do if someone around you is having a seizure.

Recognizing Early Signs of a Seizure

While you can’t always prevent a seizure from happening, recognizing the early signs of a seizure in children and adults can help you ensure a safe environment and prepare to respond accordingly.

Babies and Children

Seizures in babies and children often occur in the first year of life. Epilepsy, is a brain disorder causing two or more seizures of any kind. It is the most common neurologic disorder diagnosed in babies and children.

Infants and children under six have immature nervous systems, so seizure activity is usually subtle. Signs of a seizure in this age group typically include:

  • Flickering eyelids and forced eye deviation
  • Leg bicycling
  • Lip smacking
  • Loss of head control or general loss of muscle tone

Seizures in children older than six typically resemble symptoms similar to seizure presentation in adults.

Adults

Seizures in adults typically fall into one of two groups: generalized or focal seizures. Generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain. The two subtypes of generalized seizures include:

  • Absence seizures: A person affected by an absence seizure can appear to have rapid blinking or staring into space for a few seconds.
  • Tonic-clonic seizures: A person affected by a tonic-clonic seizure might have muscle jerks or spasms, which cause them to fall to the ground or even lose consciousness.

Focal seizures occur in a specific brain area and can be classified as simple, complex, or secondary generalized seizures.

  • Simple focal seizure: A person affected by simple focal seizures might experience twitching or a change in smell or taste.
  • Complex focal seizure: A person affected by a complex focal seizure may become confused or dazed and unable to respond for several minutes.
  • Secondary generalized seizures: A person affected by a secondary generalized seizure may first experience a focal seizure that spreads throughout the brain. Symptoms may start as twitching or a change in sensation and evolve into a generalized seizure.

Signs of a Seizure by Phase

Often, people who experience seizures go through four stages of the seizure process.

Prodromal Phase

During the prodromal phase, sense an impending seizure and experience changes in feelings hours or even days ahead of time. This phase does not cause a seizure, nor is it considered part of a seizure, but it can alert a person affected by seizures that a seizure is coming.

Although not everyone with seizures experiences the prodromal phase, it can allow those who do to follow their seizure treatment plan and take precautions to prevent injury.

Early Ictal (Aura) Phase

In the early ictal (aura) phase, a person affected by seizures might experience a change in feeling, sensation, thought, or behavior that typically occurs with a seizure. Some of the changes they might experience include:

  • A change in smell, déja vu
  • Vision loss or visual blurring
  • Racing thoughts
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Unexpected pleasant feelings.

The person experiencing the aura might also have dizziness or lightheadedness, a headache, nausea, numbness, or tingling somewhere in the body.

Ictal (Middle) Phase

The ictal (middle) phase of a seizure is when the seizure activity begins. Symptoms depend on the type of seizure and include:

  • Muscle tightening and shaking
  • Rapid blinking
  • Staring off into space
  • Twitching
  • Changes in sensation
  • Appearing dazed and confused

Post-Ictal (End) Phase

When the seizure activity ends, the post-ictal (end) phase begins. The post-ictal phase is also known as the recovery phase. It may take minutes to hours for a person who experienced a seizure to recover and feel like themselves again.

How to Care for Someone With Seizure Signs

Seizure activity typically lasts for a few minutes. Some important things to assist a person affected by a seizure include:

  • Assist the person to the ground to prevent falling during the seizure.
  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends and they are awake and aware.
  • Once the person is awake and aware, explain what occurred.
  • Provide comfort and speak slowly and calmly.
  • Keep everyone calm, including yourself.
  • Gently help the person lie on one side and loosen any collars or ties to help keep the airways open.
  • Prevent injury by clearing anything away that could be harmful, like sharp or hard objects.

Signs of Seizure After Effects

When a person who experiences seizures gets to the post-ictal (end) phase, it could take minutes to hours for them to feel like themselves again. Some of the common signs people experience after a seizure include:

  • Experiencing a delayed response to questions
  • Feeling sleepy or confused
  • Having difficulty talking
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Feeling upset, sad, anxious, frustrated, or embarrassed
  • Experiencing headaches or generalized muscle soreness or weakness
  • Having an urge to use the bathroom (unless they lost bowel and bladder control during the seizure)
  • Sustaining possible injuries, such as broken bones or a concussion, from tonic-clonic seizure activity or falling to the ground during the seizure

Reasons to Not Delay Medical Attention

In most cases, seizures end within a few minutes and often do not require medical attention. However, it is important to call 911 if any of the following occur:

  • The seizure lasts more than five minutes.
  • The person has never had a seizure before or had back-to-back seizures.
  • The person has trouble breathing or difficulty waking up once the seizure ends.
  • The person experiencing the seizure sustained an injury.
  • The seizure occurs while the person is in the water.
  • There is a known health condition like diabetes, heart disease, or pregnancy.

Summary

Seizures are common, with approximately 10% of the population experiencing at least one seizure in their lifetime. The disruption of the nervous system’s electrical activity can cause a variety of seizure symptoms. Most seizures last for a few minutes and do not require medical attention.

If you are with someone having a seizure, keep calm and stay with the person. Assist them to the ground, lay them on their side, and clear the area of any sharp or hard objects that could cause injury. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, or injury or difficulty breathing occurs during the seizure, call 911 for immediate medical assistance.

 

Source: verywellhealth.com, Pamela Assid, DNP, RN, Brigid Dwyer, MD

A mother in Maine rallied for her son’s emotional support chickens

A mother in Maine rallied for her son’s emotional support chickens

Amy Martin stepped to the lectern earlier this month wearing a sweater that said “Mama Bear” and spoke directly to city officials sitting across from her in Bangor, Maine.

She was there to speak for her 25-year-old son, C-Jay Martin, who has experienced profound anxiety and depression ever since the pandemic. The emotional support chickens they kept at home, she told them, had brought comfort to her son, who is blind and has epilepsy and autism.

A city ordinance, however, prevented residents from keeping fowl, so on Oct. 5, Martin attended the board of appeals meeting and made her case for having them as pets. The chickens, she argued, could bring her son joy.

After a meeting of more than an hour, board members unanimously agreed. They voted that Martin and her son could have chickens at home in a decision that has resounded far beyond the city of about 30,000 residents, earning her praise from advocates for people with disabilities, and her neighbors.

Other city residents spoke in favor of Amy Martin’s chickens, trying to persuade the board to make an exception.

One neighbor, Martha Gladstone, wrote in a letter to the board that while dogs leave feces on lawns and cats in the neighborhood dig into flower beds, “hens stay put.”

“Wouldn’t it be nice to bring a little joy in the life of someone who has suffered lifelong?” she wrote.

The decision has also highlighted the unexpected comfort, and importance, that emotional support chickens bring to patients, because they require less maintenance and daily attention than other pets yet are similarly docile and affectionate.

C-Jay Martin was already enamored with his flock of six hens, whose names are Popcorn, Cheek, Stella, Salty (she is known to have an attitude and cluck at others), Pepper and her sister, who is yet to be named, although a “SpongeBob SquarePants” reference is being considered.

“It’s absolutely worth everything we had to go through” to keep them at home, Amy Martin said in an interview.

She first reached out to city officials in February to seek permission, but by March she was upset about how long the process was taking and decided to go ahead and buy them for her son, whose anxiety had not improved much.

Jeff Wallace, the director of code enforcement for the city of Bangor, said that there was no mechanism for him or the city lawyer to immediately approve Martin’s request. The appeals board was the only way, he said.

“From the very first day, if I could have, I would have,” Wallace said.

Martin said that she had felt pressure to move quickly because her son, who is immunocompromised, had felt extremely isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those feelings had not improved much by January. He remained withdrawn and introverted, nothing like the sociable and gregarious person he had been all his life.

Martin said she had begun researching what could help and had read about emotional support animals, particularly the usefulness of chickens. They were known to help people with autism establish routine and foster responsibility, creating a sense of autonomy, she said.

Dr. Leela Magavi, a psychiatrist in Newport Beach, California, said that while it’s rare for chickens to be the animal of choice, they are beneficial for many people with autism who struggle with social anxiety, she said.

The chickens help with social communication because, oftentimes, people want to visit to look at them, and they provide patients with something interesting to talk about, Magavi said.

“They also feel confident in that they’re taking care of others, and it’s like a sense of altruism that really helps with dopamine and happiness,” Magavi said. “And it creates a sense of motivation and accountability.”

Martin said she had noticed right away how the chickens helped her son. The first day she got them as chicks, C-Jay Martin stayed by their cage, patting them gently and holding each on the palm of his hand.

Martin said she had eventually moved the chickens into their fenced-in backyard, where they could roam freely and have a coop and a greenhouse to stay warm and dry during winter.

If there is a spider inside the house, she likes to bring a chicken in to eat it.

Their dog, Marley, also loves them.

“She acts like a chicken guard dog,” Martin said.

Seeing how much her son had improved since getting the flock, Martin sought support from more of her neighbors before the board of appeals meeting.

On the day of the meeting, several spoke in favor of Amy Martin’s chickens, trying to convince the board.

“They’re not a nuisance,” one neighbor said.

“Chickens are friendly,” said another.

“I took them a bag of chicken feed instead of a bottle of wine,” a third neighbor said in a gruff voice, wondering how “with all the evil and unrest in this world,” wasn’t this a simple, right thing to do?

Their support worked.

Two days after the meeting, there was a sign, Martin said, that everything would be OK.

Pepper the chicken laid an egg.

 

Source: Eduardo Medina

Here’s Why Texas Children Carry Different Colored Pumpkin Candy Buckets on Halloween

Here’s Why Texas Children Carry Different Colored Pumpkin Candy Buckets on Halloween

Halloween is slowly creeping up on us and soon your neighborhood will be filled with kids walking around with their candy buckets, ready to load up on candy!

During the Halloween season we’re used to seeing children walking around with the bright orange pumpkin buckets, but recently you may have noticed that now these orange pumpkins can come in other different colors.

To some people they may be just that, another color, but to some kids and their parents these different colored pumpkins mean a lot more. Teal, purple, and pink pumpkins can signify a lot about the kid who is holding the pumpkin so it’s important that you know exactly what these colors mean so you can be prepared if a child comes to your house this Halloween.

Teal Pumpkins: 

Teal pumpkins, thanks to the Teal Pumpkin Project, have a heartwarming mission. When you spot a teal pumpkin, it means the house offers non-food treats for trick-or-treaters. These thoughtful homeowners are accommodating children with food allergies by providing small toys and allergy-friendly goodies.

Purple Pumpkins:

Purple pumpkins stand for epilepsy awareness. If you see one at a home, it signals that someone inside either has epilepsy or knows how to respond to an epileptic seizure. It’s a gesture of support and understanding.

Pink Pumpkins:

Pink pumpkins symbolize breast cancer awareness, fitting perfectly with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Their presence indicates that someone in the house is a breast cancer survivor, knows a survivor, or is currently undergoing treatment.

Teal Candy Buckets:

Like their pumpkin counterparts, teal candy buckets signify food allergies. If a child holds one, it’s a call for allergy-friendly treats or non-food surprises like toys, stickers, pencils, or glow sticks.

Purple Candy Buckets:

Purple candy buckets tell us that the child might be dealing with epilepsy. Though it may not affect candy choices, it’s essential to be aware in case the child experiences a seizure.

Blue Candy Buckets:

Blue candy buckets indicate that the child is on the autism spectrum. Understanding this can lead to a more inclusive Halloween experience, where patience, kindness, and acceptance help all children enjoy the festivities.

This Halloween, it’s not just about spookiness and treats; it’s also about understanding, empathy, and support for those with special needs. So, keep an eye out for these colored symbols and make Halloween a holiday for everyone!

 

Source: kisselpaso.com, Iris Lopez

Benign Rolandic Epilepsy

Benign Rolandic Epilepsy

What is Benign Rolandic Epilepsy?

Benign rolandic epilepsy, also known as benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS), causes seizures that occur during sleep. Other names for benign rolandic epilepsy are:

  • Childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes
  • Self-limited epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (SeLECTS)

The term “benign” refers to the fact that all children outgrow these seizures by their teenage years. “Centrotemporal spikes” refers to the abnormal spikes of electrical activity that occur in the brain. The spikes appear in the centrotemporal or “rolandic” region of the brain. This area controls movement in the face, mouth and throat.

Benign rolandic epilepsy seizures typically begin between the ages of 6 and 12. Benign rolandic epilepsy accounts for about 15% of all epilepsies in children. It does not affect adults.

Children with benign rolandic epilepsy are usually otherwise healthy.

Benign Rolandic Epilepsy Symptoms

Benign rolandic epilepsy is the most common type of focal epilepsy in children. Focal epilepsy means the seizure activity begins in one part of the brain. The seizure activity may spread to the other side of the brain. The seizures are brief. They usually last less than two minutes.

Most seizures happen at night as a child falls asleep or wakes up. Seizures may occur while fully awake or during the day when the child naps or falls asleep while doing a relaxing activity (such as watching TV or reading). This isn’t as common.

Symptoms can include:

  • A tingly or numb sensation in the face, mouth or tongue.
  • Drooling.
  • Trouble speaking.
  • Incontrollable twitching or jerking of the face or arms.

The seizure usually affects one-half of the face, arm or leg. If the child is awake or wakes up during the seizure, they may be aware of what is happening. Some children don’t remember the seizure, or they sleep through it.

Focal seizures can progress to a full body “grand mal” seizure. In a “grand mal” seizure, the child’s muscles stiffen. Their arms and legs jerk uncontrollably.

After a seizure, the child may be tired or confused for a little while. They may have short term weakness in the face or upper arm.

Benign Rolandic Epilepsy Causes

Experts aren’t sure what causes benign rolandic epilepsy. Some children have a family history of the condition. Many do not have a family history.

Benign Rolandic Epilepsy Diagnosis

If a child has focal seizures at night and is 6 to 12 years old, benign rolandic epilepsy is a likely cause. To confirm the diagnosis, your child’s doctor will do a complete neurological exam. They will ask you and your child to describe the seizures.

The doctor will order an electroencephalography (EEG) test that takes place while your child is awake and sleeping. An EEG measures electrical activity in the brain. If a child has benign rolandic epilepsy, the EEG results will show a specific pattern of electrical activity in the centrotemporal region of the brain.

Benign Rolandic Epilepsy Treatment

Doctors do not always prescribe anti-seizure medication for children with benign rolandic epilepsy. This is because the seizures:

  • Are infrequent
  • Usually happen at night when a child is safe in bed
  • Typically go away on their own

Your child’s doctor may prescribe anti-seizure medicine if there are several seizures, or they occur while awake.

Benign Rolandic Epilepsy Prognosis

Benign rolandic epilepsy does not cause long-term problems with learning or intelligence. About 95 percent of children with benign rolandic epilepsy stop having seizures by age 15.

 

Source: cincinnatichildrens.org, Jeffrey Tenney, MD, PhD

Sleep and stress give clues to understanding epileptic seizures

Sleep and stress give clues to understanding epileptic seizures

Sleeping patterns and stress hormones could be the key to understanding how and when people with epilepsy are likely to experience seizures, a new study reveals.

Researchers used mathematical modeling to understand the impact of different physiological processes, such as sleep and changes in concentration of the stress-hormone cortisol, on key signatures of epilepsy—known as epileptiform discharges (ED).

Epilepsy is a serious neurological disorder characterized by a tendency to have recurrent, spontaneous seizures. Classically, seizures were assumed to occur at random, until the discovery of ED activity with timescales that vary from hours and days through to months.

The scientists analyzed 24-hour EEG recordings from 107 people with idiopathic generalized epilepsy and discovered two subgroups with distinct distributions of epileptiform discharges: one with highest incidence during sleep and the other during daytime.

Publishing their findings in PLOS Computational Biology, the international research team led by the University of Birmingham, reveal that either the dynamics of cortisol or sleep stage transition, or a combination of both, explained most of the observed distributions of ED.

Lead author Isabella Marinelli, from the University of Birmingham’s Center for Systems Modeling & Quantitative Biomedicine (SMQB), said, “Some 65 million people have epilepsy worldwide, many of whom report specific triggers that make their seizures more likely—the most common of which include stress, sleep deprivation and fatigue.

“Our findings provide conceptual evidence that sleep patterns and changes in concentration of cortisol are underlying physiological drivers of rhythms of epileptiform discharges. Our mathematical approach provides a framework for better understanding what factors facilitate the occurrence of ED activity and potentially trigger the seizures which can be so debilitating for epilepsy sufferers.”

The researchers’ mathematical model describes the activity of connected brain regions, and how the excitability of these regions can change in response to different stimuli—either transitions between sleep stages or variation in concentration of cortisol.

ED frequency increases during the night, early in the morning, and in stressful situations in many people with epilepsy. The team discovered that sleep accounted for 90% of variation in one subgroup and cortisol around 60% in the other subgroup.

Cortisol is one of the primary stress hormones in humans, with production and secretion controlled by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis. In stressful situations, HPA-axis activity increases, resulting in a higher secretion of cortisol.

“Sleep alone cannot account for the changes in ED likelihood during wakefulness observed in our first subgroup,” explained Dr. Marinelli. “There is a reduction in ED likelihood during the sleep time after an initial sharp increase during the first hours.

“This can be explained by the fact that deep sleep, which is linked to an increase of EDs, is predominant during the first third of the sleep period. We found an increase in ED occurrence before waking, which—given that the level of cortisol is known to increase around waking—suggests a combined effect of sleep and cortisol.”

 

Source: medicalxpress.com, University of Birmingham,

Young Canberra widow speaks out about sudden epilepsy death risk

Young Canberra widow speaks out about sudden epilepsy death risk

Canberra father of two young boys, Harrison Carey, 35, was also a keen BMXer and much-loved husband when he died suddenly from epilepsy last year.

One of the 300 Australians who lose their life to epilepsy each year, Harrison died from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), the most frequent cause of death from epilepsy.

“I didn’t know about SUDEP, Harrison didn’t know about SUDEP,” says his widow, Charley Carey, 37. “It’s not something people talk about, if we had known, we might have done things differently. We went to all his specialist appointments, and no one ever mentioned SUDEP.”

SUDEP occurs when an otherwise healthy person with epilepsy dies, often in their sleep, and no cause for the death can be found. There may or may not have been a seizure.

“Discussing SUDEP is tough, but the most difficult conversation is the one you don’t get to have. Nothing is more difficult than death. If I can raise awareness, even if it just stops one family going through this, then that’s what I have to do,” Charley says.

Charley and Harrison met when her youngest son Madden was just three months old, and Kaidyn was 19 months old. Harrison fast became a father to the little ones he proudly called “his boys”, introducing them to BMX.

According to Epilepsy ACT, more than 8,000 ACT residents live with epilepsy, and the annual incidence of SUDEP is about one in 1,000 adults with epilepsy and one in 4,500 children with epilepsy.

SUDEP risk factors include: uncontrolled or frequent seizures; tonic-clonic seizures, particularly if these happen at night or during sleep; frequent seizure activity; seizures that begin at a young age; many years of living with epilepsy; missing doses of medication; and drinking alcohol.

“The exact cause of SUDEP is not yet understood, but there are things we can do to manage the risk of SUDEP like taking your medication as prescribed and on time,” says Fiona Allardyce, CEO of Epilepsy ACT.

“Knowing your seizure triggers is important so that you can avoiding them as much as possible. Triggers are different for everyone and can be anything from a certain smell, to flickering lights, stress, or not getting enough sleep. Avoid drinking too much and illicit drugs. Ask your doctor about your risks, and make sure your family and caregivers are trained in seizure first aid,” Fiona says.

Epilepsy ACT encourages family members and people with epilepsy to get seizure first aid training for free in their Understanding and Managing Epilepsy and Administration of Emergency Medication courses. Both courses can be completed in just two hours.

Charley, Madden and Kaidyn continue to visit Harrison’s favorite spot, taking him Maltesers and diet colas on special occasions.

“I don’t want to forget my husband. I want to honor him. He was in the prime of his life with so much to look forward to,” Charley says.

 

Source: canberradaily.com.au

EPILEPTIC SEIZURES THAT DO NOT RESPOND TO DRUGS MAY BE CURED WITH THIS NEW THERAPY FOR EPILEPSY, A STUDY SUGGESTS

EPILEPTIC SEIZURES THAT DO NOT RESPOND TO DRUGS MAY BE CURED WITH THIS NEW THERAPY FOR EPILEPSY, A STUDY SUGGESTS

Veterinarian and neurologist Sonja Bröer, together with her colleagues, has investigated the potential of regenerative cell treatments with the intention of either curing epilepsy or making its symptoms much less severe. Before joining the faculty at Berlin’s Freie Universität, Bröer oversaw the preclinical research team of San Francisco’s Neurona Therapeutics, Inc.

The company is working on a cell therapy (NRTX-1001) for seizures that don’t respond to drugs treatments. They have now released the results of preliminary tests in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

It’s estimated that epilepsy affects 50 million individuals globally. Disturbingly, a significant fraction, nearly a third, find that their seizures remain unresponsive to traditional drug therapies.

One of the pivotal neurotransmitters, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), plays a role in curtailing this hyperactivity. Nonetheless, in epilepsy sufferers, the specific neurons producing GABA can deteriorate, leading to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory signals. This imbalance is considered a primary driver for epileptic episodes.

The ground-breaking research presented in Cell Stem Cell by Dr. Bröer and her team details a promising approach. They’ve pioneered the transplantation of inhibitory neurons, which release GABA, aiming to reestablish the brain’s equilibrium and thereby curtail epileptic activities. Such cellular therapeutic approaches hold immense promise as an alternative for those grappling with drug-resistant seizures.

Further emphasizing its potential, NRTX-1001, formulated by Neurona Therapeutics, is based on human embryonic stem cells, which are then transformed into inhibitory neurons. When tested on a mouse model mimicking chronic epilepsy, the results were astounding. Most subjects displayed profound seizure suppression, with a significant proportion experiencing complete cessation of seizures.

Beyond mere integration, these introduced neurons spread widely in the brain and seamlessly merged with the existing neural network. Not only did they exhibit long-term survival, but they also minimized epilepsy’s detrimental effects, such as brain scarring – an affliction also observed in human patients.

This therapeutic approach’s impact was found to be dose-responsive and was devoid of any detrimental side effects. Encouragingly, this propels the current phase 1/2 clinical trial (NCT05135091) focusing on drug-resistant epilepsy.

If it garners approval, it will position itself as a pioneering cell therapy for epilepsy on a global scale, potentially revolutionizing the lives of countless individuals facing treatment-resistant seizures.

 

Source: revyuh.com, Puja Molpariya

Building a new future for people with epilepsy

Building a new future for people with epilepsy

It’s time to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of charity.

Charity has always begun at home, but today we rely more heavily than ever on old cardigans and jackets to play their part in funding scientific discovery, hopefully leading to medical breakthroughs.

In 2019, charities in the UK funded £1.9bn in research and development. That was the equivalent of the combined efforts of the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health and Care Research.

Epilepsy affects 626,000 people in the UK. That is 1 in 100 people. One third of them – 200,000 – live with uncontrolled seizures as their epilepsy fails to respond to current treatment options. Yet just 0.3 per cent of government funding for medical research is invested in epilepsy.

But the number of old skirts that we can dig out and cakes that we can bake is finite. It is time to think big, think bold and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit that forms the backbone of charity.

I never envisaged the day I would consider building on green belt land. As for many of us, the countryside is in my DNA. It is where the concrete stops and the woodpecker begins. But this is a far cry from the reality of a deepening housing shortage, people living with chronic conditions and a green belt that increasingly can only be accessed by the well-off. Few buses or trains swing by the countryside for a picnic, and even fewer come back later that day.

We have an enviable legacy at the Epilepsy Society – 300 acres of land, much of it green belt – though not the verdant rolling hills the phrase may conjure up. It is a Victorian legacy from the days when our founders invested in land to provide employment for people with epilepsy whose trajectory in the cities would otherwise lead to the workhouse and asylums. A farm in the country offered new life, new hope and a future where there had been none.

But people with epilepsy no longer farm the land. Those with controlled seizures now live fulfilled lives, working in offices and laboratories, running their own businesses, teaching and working for constituents in parliament. For the 200,000-plus people whose seizures don’t respond to medication, they don’t need farmland, they need research that will accelerate the field of discovery leading to better diagnosis, better treatment and better jobs.

We want to turn our legacy land into a true legacy for people with epilepsy, and research that will lead to more personalized treatments. Not a buzz word but an achievable goal in a field where treatment today, of necessity, relies too much on trial and error. New and better treatments are within our grasp – subject only to research funding.

Government often works in silos. In one department there is a housing crisis with a crippling shortage of affordable homes. In another there is scientific expertise and genomic data but not the funding to turn it into better diagnosis and treatment for people with epilepsy.

Here, in a corner of Buckinghamshire, we have a potential solution to both: 300 acres of land, part of which could make a big dent in the housing shortage, including homes for young people who want to continue to live in the community where they grew up. Those homes could fund groundbreaking, innovative research that could transform lives across the UK and ultimately the world.

And it’s important to say that quite a lot of green belt land is not beautiful landscapes. On our site we have tumbledown buildings we can no longer maintain. If anyone believes these are more beautiful than a flat that is fully accessible for a wheelchair user, or an affordable house with a small garden and swing for the family of a care worker, that seems to me to be a failure of imagination and empathy.

I have lost count of the number of commentators who say that charities should “stick to their knitting” and “honor the wishes of their donors”. Well, this is our knitting. Every penny raised will go to research to benefit people with epilepsy. And that is what the land was given to us for.

We could be using our legacy land to enable new fathers with epilepsy to hold their babies safely without anxiety about a seizure; for parents to wave their child off to university without sleepless nights; and for everyone with epilepsy to be able to lead a full life and plan a family without fear of terrifying seizures or that the drugs they take will cause disabilities in their unborn child.

We are hoping to build 1,000 homes on 40 per cent of our land. It could help solve the housing crisis locally. Nationally, it will bring personalized medicine closer to more people with epilepsy. Just imagine the difference if we could offer a newly diagnosed teenager medication to control their seizures within weeks rather than years.

We have all found a certain magic hidden within our own wardrobes that is helping to fund the hopes and dreams of others. Now we need to look beyond those second-hand clothes to take funding for innovation and life transforming science to a new level.

 

Source: newstatesman.com, Clare Pelham

King’s College London Identifies Impulsivity-Linked Genes In Epilepsy

King’s College London Identifies Impulsivity-Linked Genes In Epilepsy

 

The new study, published in Nature Genomic Medicine, analyzed DNA from individuals with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. It is the first to screen for and identify genetic variants associated with impulsivity in a neuropsychiatric disorder.

Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy is a common type of epilepsy characterized by several types of seizures starting in adolescence. This type of epilepsy can be difficult to treat due to resistance or intolerance to antiseizure medication, which is seen in about 50% of women with JME. There is therefore a need to improve treatment options in JME.

The study examined 376 samples collected through the BIOJUME (Biology of Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy) consortium across 10 countries. Individuals self-reported elevated impulsivity, a behavioral trait demonstrated by poor planning, risky, or inappropriate behaviors that can result in undesirable consequences.

Impulsivity has previously been linked to JME as well as attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder. In JME specifically, impulsivity has also been associated with an increased frequency of seizures.

Genome-wide screening identified SLCO5A1 as a main gene associated to impulsivity. This gene has not been studied extensively in relation to either impulsivity or epilepsy. However, knockout of the equivalent gene in fruit flies results in seizure-like events and overactivity in the organism.

Researchers found that SLCO5A1 interacts with other genes that are responsible for “synapse assembly”, a crucial process for neurons to form connections with each other. Alterations in this process has been linked to epilepsy and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

This discovery gave promising evidence to assess impulsivity in neuropsychiatric disorders. It also uncovered the link between impulse control and seizure control, which may have implications for new treatments.

We believe that this finding indicates that assessing impulsivity in individuals with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy may improve clinical assessments and treatment selections. This is an important step towards personalized medicine in neuropsychiatry.

 

Source: indiaeducationdiary.in, Professor Deb Pal

Experimental Drug Could Rein in Epilepsy Seizures

Experimental Drug Could Rein in Epilepsy Seizures

For people with tough-to-treat epilepsy, seizures can be both frightening and dangerous, but a new experimental pill may bring significant relief to over one-third of them.

Dubbed XEN1101, the new drug reduced the frequency of seizures by more than 50%, or even eliminated them, in some patients with focal epilepsy who did not respond to an average of six other drugs.

“I am predicting that with this drug there are going to be far fewer people with epilepsy who are going to be walking around and have no chance of getting their seizures controlled,” said lead researcher Dr. Jacqueline French, a professor of neurology at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

Focal epilepsy is the most common type of epilepsy, French noted. “Two-thirds of people with epilepsy have focal epilepsy, which means that there’s one area of focus in the brain where the seizures begin, whether it be in the temporal lobe or the frontal lobe, or wherever it is.”

XEN1101 works differently than most other drugs used to treat epilepsy, she added.

“The drugs we use have different ways of decreasing the excitability of the brain. The most common drugs that we have are what we call sodium channel blockers. They prevent sodium from going into a cell,” French said.

When sodium rushes into a cell, it fires the cell and sends that signal to the next cell, which sends it to the next cell and so on. “Most of the drugs we have blocked that,” French explained

However, XEN1101 is a potassium channel opener, which means that it lets potassium out of the cell instead of keeping the sodium from going into the cell, which signals the cell not to fire, she said.

Like any drug, there are side effects. It can make people sleepy and it can make people unsteady. These side effects depend on the dose and are manageable, French said.

Another benefit of the drug is that it lasts in the body for a relatively long time, which means that patients don’t have to take it as often as other anti-seizure medications, she noted. And unlike current medications that can take as long as 10 weeks to become fully effective, XEN1101 begins to act right away.

For the study, funded by drug maker Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc., French and her colleagues randomly assigned 285 men and women with focal seizures to one of three doses of XEN1101, or a placebo. Participants had failed other drugs and had at least four seizures a month.

The investigators found that patients taking XEN1101 experienced a 33% to 53% drop in monthly seizures. Those taking the placebo had an average of only 18% fewer seizures during the eight weeks of the trial.

Given the option to continue taking the drug after the trial ended, most patients opted to continue treatment, and about 18% remained free from seizures after six months and about 11% after a year or more, French said.

More trials of the drug are in the works, and French hopes the drug will be approved and available for patients sometime in the next few years.

“Patients should be hopeful for this drug and others that there is going to be a drug for them that controls their seizures,” she said. “The fact that a seizure can occur anytime, anywhere is so disruptive to people’s lives and it prevents them from working and from having relationships, and it’s dangerous — we need to stop those seizures — yes, they should be hopeful.”

One expert thinks this drug could be a much-needed addition to epilepsy care.

“It was a well-done trial by a group of international physicians, and it brings a new medication to market that has a novel mechanism action, which is quite different from other drugs that are currently available,” said Dr. Sean Hwang, an assistant professor of neurology at Hofstra/Northwell School of Medicine in Hempstead, N.Y.

“I think it’s a nice new medication for patients with seizures and epilepsy,” Hwang said. “For some patients, this could really be a benefit.”

 

Source: usnews.com, Healthday, Steven Reinberg

Common myths about epilepsy in kids

Common myths about epilepsy in kids

Epilepsy is one of the more common neurologic disorders in children.

About one in 26 people have epilepsy, and one in 10 people will have at least one seizure in their lifetime.

Mayo Clinic pediatric neurologist and epileptologist Dr Anthony Fine says that even though it’s fairly common in children, there are a few misconceptions when it comes to epilepsy and kids.

Epilepsy can be a challenge to diagnose in children because not all seizures are the same

“It’s really a common misconception that all seizures are convulsive seizures,” he says.

There are other types of seizures, such as absent seizures, where a child may blank out for a few seconds or minutes, then go back to whatever they were doing.

“I’ve had some kids whom, you know, people think they’re acting goofy.

“And this kind of continues, and eventually, it gets picked up that something is actually going on.

“And there are other seizures that look like night terrors almost,” he say.

He notes that for many children, there are treatments to control seizures.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal with epilepsy.

“You really need to tailor it to the patient and their response.

“But for the most part, anti- seizure medications can be very helpful.

“And some children can control their seizures completely.”

Dr Fine says a common misconception is that attention- deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications can cause seizures, and children who have epilepsy and ADHD should avoid them.

“It turns out that that’s not true.

“It’s really that there’s just a strong relationship between epilepsy and ADHD.

“And so, if you have one, you’re more likely to have the other.”

 

Source: thestar.com.my, Jason Howland/Mayo Clinic News Network/Tribune News Service

TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH: Seizure-like reactions pose question of epilepsy

TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH: Seizure-like reactions pose question of epilepsy

DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband experienced seizure-like episodes without tonic/clonic body movements in high altitude. These episodes occurred while he was traveling, being physically active in Colorado and skiing in France. Both episodes happened at least 12 hours after physical activity. Our general physician back home felt that these were not true seizures, instead a reaction to possibly being dehydrated in high altitudes.

A vast amount of testing resulted in nothing unusual going on with his cardiovascular system or his brain. But just recently, he had another episode two days after being active, hydrating at sea level and banging his head — with more body movement this time.

I have been researching online, and seizure-like reactions seem to occur due to electrolyte imbalances. It is very hard to get to a neurologist without an excessive wait time. Do you think anti-seizure medications are warranted? — S.S.

ANSWER: It’s important to separate a seizure (which anyone can get if there is enough stress to the brain) from epilepsy, a condition where the person is susceptible to recurring seizures. For it to be considered epilepsy, a person generally needs at least two unprovoked seizures (with no unusual stress to the brain) at least 24 hours apart. Only epilepsy is treated with long-term anti-seizure medicines.

There is indeed a risk of developing seizures while at a high altitude. In addition, there are many other conditions that can provoke a seizure. You mentioned electrolyte imbalance, but sodium (too much or too little) as well as too little amounts of magnesium and calcium are among the most common. Low blood sugar is a frequent cause.

Some recreational drugs cause seizures, but withdrawal from drugs, especially alcohol, is more common. Metabolic diseases of the kidney and thyroid are also common. Sleep deprivation, brain injury (especially stroke, but also trauma), brain tumors and brain infections are all common triggers that your husband probably received an evaluation for.

Had it only been the first seizure, my advice likely would have been the same as your physician’s, although I probably would have suggested a consultation with an epileptologist (a neurologist with special expertise in seizures). Now that he has had a second — and unprovoked — seizure, my suspicion that he has epilepsy is much higher. (In hindsight, it’s clear that the first reaction really was a seizure.)

Most people experiencing their first seizure while at a high altitude were eventually found to have epilepsy after further testing, including an electroencephalogram (EEG). The high altitude doesn’t cause the seizure; it just increases the risk of a seizure in a person who has an underlying propensity for it. This may also occur with many medicines, especially those used for depression.

Your husband should see an epileptologist as soon as possible. I strongly feel that it’s unwise for nonexperts to prescribe anti-seizure drugs, except as a treatment until a patient can be seen by an expert. I have seen that done many times, and it is done improperly, at least according to the expert a patient eventually sees. Your husband needs a timely and comprehensive reevaluation. Epileptologists recognize that new onset seizures in an adult require a more timely appointment.

 

Source: mycouriertribune.com, Dr. Keith Roach

The Frequency and Precipitating Factors for Breakthrough Seizures in Children with Epilepsy.

The Frequency and Precipitating Factors for Breakthrough Seizures in Children with Epilepsy.

To determine the common precipitating factors for breakthrough seizures in children with epilepsy.
This retrospective study reviewed the charts of children with epilepsy who were followed up in the pediatric neurology clinic of King Fahad Hospital in Al-Baha region, Saudi Arabia, between January 2015 and August 2022. Children between 1 to 14 years of age who had epilepsy, as per the International League Against Epilepsy definition and received anti-seizure medication with a seizure-free period of at least 2 months before breakthrough seizure episode, were included in the study.
Of the 108 children included in the study, the mean age was 6.8±1.6 years, and among them (55.5%) were male. Most parents (69.5%) were unaware of the triggering factors of seizure. The majority of patients (88%) reported at least one precipitating factor for breakthrough seizures and the most common one was systemic infection associated with fever (52.8%), and then non-compliance to medications in (34.3%) of the patients. In terms of the electroencephalogram, around 84 patients (77.8%) had abnormal electroencephalogram. Finally, monotherapy was maintained in 63.9% of patients.
We conclude that the most common trigger for breakthrough seizure is a systemic infection associated with fever and non-compliance to anti-seizure medications. Increasing the level of awareness by different methods may help limit or even prevent seizures from occurring. Randomized controlled trials could shed light on the adjustment of anti-seizure medications temporarily by increasing the dosage or giving extra doses during the infection to avoid breakthrough seizures.

 

Source: physiciansweekly.com

7 Exceptional Yoga Poses For Epilepsy Management!

7 Exceptional Yoga Poses For Epilepsy Management!

Numerous people have recognized the benefits of doing yoga daily basis in their routine in the view of fact that Yoga is not just a physical exercise but also a better option for maintaining physical postures, breath control, meditation, and mindfulness. Individuals find a way to promote physical fitness, reduce stress, and enhance mental clarity just by doing yoga.

It provides myriad benefits which are suitable for mental as well as physical health conditions. It is true that it is not a cure for Epilepsy but it can manage the risk of suffering intense conditions of Epilepsy. It is kind of a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures which can easily affect the life of any individual.

In this exploration, I have delved into seven remarkable yoga poses that may help individuals maintaining epilepsy experience relief and better seizure control. You should have to read this article to the end in order to know all the detailed and accurate informative content. Let’s dive into it and find valuable tools to support overall well-being.

Can Yoga Help With Epilepsy?

The potential advantages of yoga for epilepsy might not be commonly recognized. It has been proven that consistent yoga practice offers enduring health benefits. Yoga is very important in our lives. Yoga goes beyond mere physical workouts; the practice of yoga postures (asanas) and controlled breathing techniques has a positive impact on the functioning of the nervous system.

Research indicates that a well-rounded Hatha or Yin Yoga routine can have a calming effect on the nervous system, potentially reducing the likelihood of seizures and even possibly preventing them from becoming severe. Yoga is a kind of physical exercise that also helps in losing weight. Check out, the Noom Diet App Review which is a Psychological Approach to Long-Term Weight Loss.

It’s worth highlighting that consistent and extended engagement in yoga postures, breath control, and meditation could lead to enduring changes in brain function. As an adjunct to medical treatment, yoga for epilepsy emerges as a viable approach to managing the condition.

7 Amazing Yoga Poses to Treat Epilepsy

Here is the list of all those seven amazing yoga poses to calm down brain nerves to a large extent. Take a look at this below-mentioned yoga exercise to do on a daily basis in order to manage the risk of Epilepsy.

Anulom Vilom | Alternate Nostril Breathing

Anulom Vilom is one of the most popular and performed ancient yogic breathing techniques. This simple exercise holds the power of maintaining overall well-being. It involves the rhythmic process of inhaling and exhaling through alternate nostrils.

Some people are also giving online fitness classes but Is Online Fitness the Future of Exercise? Anulom Vilom is not just a popular yoga but also reduces stress, refreshes of mind, and relaxes the nerves of the brain so that it can reduce the risk of Epilepsy.

 Shashankasana (Balasana) | Child’s Pose

Performing Shashankasana embodies relaxation and surrender. You should have to kneel on the floor, sit back on your heels, and then gently fold forward. It will stretch your spine, hips, and thighs. On the other hand, it will provide you with tranquility and relaxation.

Salamba Sarvangasana | Supported Shoulderstand (Against the Wall)

Salamba Sarvangasana is a kind of variation of the classical yoga pose. It will help you improve circulation, and thyroid function, and calm the nervous system. In the way of performing this asana, you should have to lie on their backs with their legs extended upward against a wall for support. Do you know that you can Turn Your Phone Into a Fitness Coach? Here Is Your Pocket Gym!

 Passchimottanasana | Seated Forward Bend

Passchimottanasana also known as a seated forward bend is well known for its proven benefits in improving flexibility, relieving stress, and enhancing digestion by massaging the abdominal organs.  You just have to follow some simple steps like sitting with your legs extended straight and reaching forward to touch the toes or grasp the feet.

 Supta Eka Pada Kapotasana | Sleeping Pigeon Pose

The sleeping Pigeon pose is an asana that offers spinal flexibility and combines deep hip openings. This yoga will reduce your stress, and tension in your mind and relax you from all the things. Through this, the risk of intense Epilepsy will be reduced. Do not miss MrBeast Transformation, Read about What Advice Did He Give?

 Seal  Pose (Yin Yoga)

It is a very popular heart-opening asana performed in the hope of deeply rejuvenating and heart-opening. It offers emotional release and alleviates tension in the upper body. It is a kind of powerful practice for those who are dealing with stress. If you are one of them, then this is highly recommended asanas.

 Garland Pose | Malasana

It is basically a grounding and hip-opening posture. It encourages mindfulness. Garland pose is best for those who are suffering from problems associated with Epilepsy in view of the fact that it provides hip flexibility, and promotes lower back health. So that, the performer can release the stress and tension in his or her mind.

Conclusion

In the crux, Doing yoga in the hope of curing Epilepsy is not possible but it can help you with an epilepsy management plan Which can be a valuable addiction. You will definitely see the results in a short period of time. It may not be a proper treatment but offers potential benefits in terms of stress reduction caused due to Epilepsy and overall well-being.

Thank you for reading this article to the end. I am extremely grateful to you that you find this article worth reading, especially on Trending News Buzz. If you like reading this article then share it with your friends and family members so that you can also read about all the informative content. Your efforts as well as time are extremely appreciated to a large extent. If you want to read more such types of articles like these then stay tuned on trending News Buzz.

 

Source: trendingnewsbuzz.com, Manya

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