Is Epilepsy Genetic?

Is Epilepsy Genetic?

About half of the time, the cause of epilepsy is unable to be identified. When a cause can’t be found, it is called cryptogenic epilepsy. For the other half of epilepsy cases, the causes may be more easily identifiable, such as head trauma or a known genetic syndrome.

Read on to learn more about how genetics can play a role in the development and treatment of epilepsy.

Genetics and Epilepsy

Genetic epilepsy means that the person has one or more genes that increase the likelihood of developing seizures.

Often in idiopathic generalized epilepsy (also called genetic generalized epilepsy), these abnormal genes only increase the risk of seizures by a small amount individually, but if several of these genes are present, epilepsy becomes more likely.

Idiopathic epilepsies include:

  • Childhood absence epilepsy
  • Juvenile absence epilepsy
  • Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy
  • Epilepsy with generalized tonic-clonic seizures alone

There are over 200 genes that have been identified as “epilepsy genes.” Many other genes have also been shown to cause genetic disorders that can involve epilepsy or seizures.

These genes can be linked to epilepsy in several ways, including:

  • Causing epilepsy directly (may be part of a genetic disorder that has epilepsy as a characteristic or symptom)
  • Causing epilepsy as a result of an interaction between genetic and environmental factors
  • Causing brain malformations that can lead to epilepsy
  • Inherited conditions that increase the likelihood of seizures, such as inherited metabolic conditions

Affected genes can have:

  • Mutations in the mitochondrial DNA
  • Missing or mutated chromosomes
  • Changes in the activity of genes

In some cases, a genetic cause may be suspected, but the exact cause of epilepsy can’t be pinpointed.


Some gene mutations don’t cause epilepsy to develop but can still affect a person with epilepsy. For example, some people with epilepsy have an abnormally active version of a certain gene, making them more resistant to anti-seizure drugs.

Inherited Epilepsy vs. Genetic Pathogenic Variants

If epilepsy results from a known or presumed genetic variant, it is considered to have a genetic cause. This does not necessarily mean the person inherited their epilepsy.

Changes in genes, called genetic pathogenic variants, can occur spontaneously, meaning a child can have these affected genes even if neither biological parent does.

Just having gene mutations that increase the risk of epilepsy doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop epilepsy. In many cases, other factors, such as environmental conditions, are needed for the genetic predisposition to lead to the development of epilepsy.

Inheritance can play a role too. The risk of epilepsy is increased 2 to 4 times for first-degree relatives of a person with inherited epilepsy. Even with this increased risk, the overall risk of developing epilepsy is still low.

The risk is higher if the biological mother has epilepsy than if the biological father does. (Note that when research or health authorities are cited, the terms for sex or gender from the source are used.)

Having a sibling with epilepsy can also increase the risk, especially an identical twin.

Inherited epilepsy can be complex. For example:

  • Siblings who have different gene mutations can develop the same epilepsy syndrome.
  • Family members with the same gene mutation can have epilepsy but experience the effects differently.
  • An epilepsy syndrome may be known to have a genetic basis, but the specific affected gene or genes haven’t been identified.

Types of Genetic Disorders

Five types of genetic disorders are:

  • Single gene or Mendelian disorders: Changes occur in a single gene, or a single gene is missing. This may be passed from parent to child or may occur spontaneously in the child.
  • Multifactorial or complex disorders: Mutations occur in a number of genes. Often these disorders are influenced by environmental factors such as substance use, birthing parent infections, or exposure to hazardous materials. These tend to run in families, but a pattern of inheritance can be difficult to determine.
  • Chromosomal disorders: Entire (or parts of) chromosomes are missing or altered. These often occur spontaneously in the affected person, but can be inherited.
  • Mitochondrial disorders: These are caused by mutations in DNA found in mitochondria (structures outside the cell nucleus that make energy for the cells). Mitochondrial DNA is only inherited from the egg-contributing (maternal) parent.
  • Epigenetic disorders: These are related to changes in the activity of genes, instead of a mutation in the structure of the DNA.

Symptoms of Genetic Epilepsy

“Epilepsy” is an umbrella term for a group of disorders, each with its own characteristics. The symptoms of genetic epilepsy can vary.

Idiopathic generalized epilepsy involves both sides of the brain and can affect all areas of the body. It usually starts in childhood or adolescence.

Symptoms of generalized seizures include:

  • Convulsions (uncontrollable shaking)
  • Stiffening
  • Making motions that are jerky, twitching, or rhythmic
  • Crying out/making a noise
  • Falling down
  • Not breathing
  • Losing consciousness
  • Confusion after regaining consciousness
  • Losing bladder control
  • Biting the tongue

Some people with epilepsy experience partial seizures (also called focal seizures). Partial seizures start in a specific area of the brain and can affect just one part or side of the body.

Symptoms of partial seizures include:

  • Movements that are jerky, rhythmic, and/or repetitive
  • Sensations such as tingling
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling full in the stomach
  • Staring
  • Confusion
  • Altered senses
  • Emotional changes

If the epilepsy is caused by a genetic syndrome, additional symptoms may be present.

Who Should Get a Genetic Assessment?

Once diagnosed with epilepsy, a genetic assessment might be helpful for people with at least one of the following:

  • Ongoing seizures that have not responded to at least two medications
  • A family history of epilepsy
  • Developmental regression or skill loss
  • Conditions in addition to epilepsy, such as global developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, atypical development of organ systems (such as bones, heart, skin, kidneys, or other areas)


Genetic epilepsy is usually treated with anti-seizure medication.

If medication isn’t effective or isn’t a viable option, other treatments may be tried, such as:

  • Surgery to remove the area of the brain that is causing the seizures
  • Vagus nerve stimulation with a placed or implanted electrical device
  • Special diets, such as a ketogenic diet or a specific supplement (always check with your healthcare provider before trying a special diet or supplement)

Therapies targeting specific rare genes may provide beneficial treatments in the future but are still in the research phase.

Other Causes of Epilepsy

Epilepsy can be caused by a number of factors in addition to genetics.

Head Trauma

Head trauma that causes brain injury, such as a car accident, can lead to epilepsy. Seizures may not show up immediately after the traumatic head injury, but appear later on.

Clinically significant elevated risk comes from moderate and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), where there is at least 30 minutes of unconsciousness or more than 24 hours of disorientation, usually paired with hemorrhage or other traumatic findings on a brain scan.


Infections such as meningitis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and viral encephalitis, can cause epilepsy. Infections experienced by a pregnant parent may contribute to the development of epilepsy in their baby.

Brain Abnormalities

Epilepsy can be caused by damage to the brain, such as from a stroke or brain tumors. The leading cause of epilepsy in people over the age of 35 is damage from a stroke.

Brain malformations, including vascular malformations, may also result in epilepsy.

Prenatal Injury

Brain injury in the womb leading to epilepsy can result from several factors, including:

  • Oxygen deficiencies or deprivation
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Infection in the pregnant person

Developmental Disorders

Some developmental conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder or neurofibromatosis, can coexist with epilepsy.

Risk Factors for Epilepsy

While it’s often not known why a person develops epilepsy, some factors may increase the risk, including:

  • Significant head injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Brain infection
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lack of oxygen at birth
  • Hardening of the arteries in the brain
  • Age (more common in children and in older adults than in ages in between)
  • A family history of epilepsy


Epilepsy can have a genetic component, which may or may not be inherited. Mutations in genes that can lead to epilepsy may be passed down from a biological parent or occur spontaneously.

Being genetically predisposed to epilepsy (having one or more affected genes) doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop epilepsy. Often epilepsy develops through an interaction between genetic and environmental factors.

Epilepsy is usually treated with medication, but other treatments such as surgery, vagus nerve stimulation, or diet therapy, may be suggested.

If you have or suspect you or your child has epilepsy, talk to your healthcare provider. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis and start any necessary treatment as early as possible.


  • What are the odds of inheriting epilepsy from a parent?

    Most children who have a parent with epilepsy don’t develop epilepsy, but there is an increased risk. The level of risk varies depending on factors such as the type of epilepsy, how many family members have epilepsy, and age of onset, among others.

  • Can you diagnose epilepsy with a genetic test?

    A genetic assessment may be suggested after an epilepsy diagnosis is made to look for a genetic cause. These assessments are not done routinely for people with epilepsy, but rather a referral is made if a person’s epilepsy healthcare provider or specialist feels it is warranted.

  • Can genetic epilepsy go away?

    Some people with epilepsy need treatments to control seizures for their whole lives, while for others, seizures can stop or decrease over time. Becoming seizure-free is less likely for adults or for children with severe epilepsy syndromes.


Source:, Heather Jones

Stanford Research Suggests Motion Sequencing Can Potentially Help Epilepsy

Stanford Research Suggests Motion Sequencing Can Potentially Help Epilepsy

A team of researchers at Stanford has found a new way to potentially help patients with epilepsy. The researchers studied mice with acquired and genetic epilepsies, and they found that machine analysis can work better to identify epileptic vs. non-epileptic mice compared to trained human observers, according to New Atlas.

Motion Sequencing (MoSeq)

MoSeq is an AI technology the researchers used for behavior analysis of epileptic mice. This helps them identify behavioral fingerprints that often go unnoticed by humans.

It is a machine-learning technology that trains an unsupervised machine to identify repeated patterns of behavior. Once the behaviors are identified, the AI provides visualization tools and statistical tests that can help scientists understand and compare them to different experimental conditions.

This allows researchers to locate, track, and quantify mice behavior. Thus, they found that the technology could be better used to identify between epileptic and non-epileptic mice that outperforms trained human observers.

In addition, MoSeq only needed an hour of video recording and did not need a seizure to occur before it provides its analysis.

Better Epilepsy Diagnosis

The study shows the potential for better diagnosing epilepsy in humans. AI, specifically MoSeq can provide a faster and less labor intensive approach to diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. MoSeq can also be used to monitor the progression of the disease and to identify any changes in the behavior that could indicate a seizure. This could give doctors access to more detailed information about a patient’s condition that can be used to improve treatment.

How Motion Sequencing Works

Motion sequencing is a type of AI which uses computer vision and machine learning to identify patterns in video recordings of patients with epilepsy. It then uses this information to detect and classify seizure events in the video recording. The technology works by analyzing the movements of the patient and looking for changes in the movements that could indicate a seizure. It then uses this information to classify the seizure and provide an accurate diagnosis.

The study demonstrates the potential of AI to provide better diagnosis and care for patients with epilepsy. MoSeq is a promising technology that can provide a faster and less labor intensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. It can also be used to monitor the progression of the disease and to identify any changes in the behavior that could indicate a seizure. This could give doctors access to more detailed information about a patient’s condition that can be used to improve treatment.


Source:, April Fowell

Common epilepsy triggers and How to identify it

Common epilepsy triggers and How to identify it

Recurrent seizures, which are defined as sudden and brief disruptions of the brain’s electrical activity, are a hallmark of epilepsy. Triggers for epilepsy can vary greatly from person to person, but some common triggers include:

1. Sleep deprivation: Everyone needs to get a good night’s sleep, but people with epilepsy need it even more. Not getting enough sleep or disruptions to ones sleep schedule can increase the likelihood of a seizure. Sadly, sleep and epilepsy operate in a somewhat vicious cycle. Epilepsy can make it hard to sleep, and not getting enough sleep can make your seizures worse. Insomnia , one of the side effects of some epilepsy medications, can prevent you from falling or staying asleep. Additionally, epilepsy patients are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that further disrupts sleep.

2. Stress: Your body can be affected physically by stress. If it lasts, it can give you headaches, make you sleepy, and make you more likely to get diabetes or heart disease. Stress can also trigger seizures in epileptic patients.

3. Flashing lights or patterns: Some people with epilepsy are sensitive to flashing lights or patterns. This is known as Photo sensitive epilepsy.

4. Alcohol and drugs: Excessive alcohol consumption or use of certain drugs, including cocaine and marijuana , can increase the likelihood of a seizure. Seizures linked to alcohol typically occur during withdrawal, when alcohol is leaving your body. This indicates that even if you aren’t having seizures but are drinking, you might still be at risk because seizures could occur later.

5. Medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants or antipsychotics, can increase the likelihood of a seizure .

6. Changes in hormones: Some women may experience seizures when their hormones change, such as during or just before menstruation ( Catamenial Epilepsy ), pregnancy, or menopause. According to research, there may be a strong link between epileptic seizures and hormones in some epileptic women. Throughout her life, a woman’s hormone levels can change, affecting when her epilepsy starts, how often she has seizures, and whether or not she stops having them. Changes in hormone levels over time may be the reason why women and men manage epilepsy differently. It could also explain why a woman’s epilepsy treatment may need to change over time.

7. Illness: Seizures can be triggered by illnesses like fever (Febrile Epilepsy) or infections. Epileptic seizures are frequently triggered by acute illness or infection. Infections of the head, lungs, or sinuses caused by viruses or bacteria can frequently cause seizures to change.8. Skipping meals: Going without food for an extended period of time can trigger seizures in some people with epilepsy.

8. Fatigue: Prolonged physical or mental exhaustion can trigger seizures in some people with epilepsy. Although everyone occasionally experiences fatigue, epileptics are more likely than others to experience elevated or frequent feelings of weakness, exhaustion, and tiredness. Epileptic patients may occasionally experience anxiety or depression. It may be harder to stay motivated and focused when you have depression symptoms, which can make it harder to complete daily tasks. This can make you feel tired and exhausted.

9.Music: In rare cases, certain types of music or musical patterns can trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.

10. Abrupt shifts in routine: A seizure can occur when the body’s natural rhythm is disrupted by sudden changes in routine, such as when traveling to a different time zone. It is essential to keep in mind that epilepsy triggers can vary greatly from person to person, and what causes a seizure in one person may not cause it in another.

Additionally, there may be no known cause for epilepsy in some individuals.

Working with a doctor to identify any triggers and develop strategies for managing them is essential for anyone with epilepsy.

Adjusting one’s sleep schedule, practicing techniques for managing stress, avoiding flashing lights or patterns, limiting one’s use of alcohol and drugs, and avoiding medications that cause seizures are all examples of this.


Source:, Dr. Atul Prasad,

AI outperforms human eye in spotting epileptic behavior in mice

AI outperforms human eye in spotting epileptic behavior in mice

The advent of high-resolution imaging has provided healthcare providers and scientists with a greater understanding of the brain circuit malfunctions seen in epileptics, but less is known about how epilepsy affects behavior. A new study has used state-of-the-art AI on mice to catch epilepsy-related behavior that can be missed by the human eye.

Epilepsy is the most common chronic brain disease, affecting millions of people worldwide. It can affect people of any age, and, for some, treatment not only produces nasty side effects but does not prevent seizures from occurring.

A traditional approach to epilepsy diagnosis and treatment assessment involves the use of continuous video-electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring over days or weeks. But it can be a fairly blunt tool, given the complexity and diversity of the condition and the fact that some seizures do not appear on EEG. In addition, it is both labor-intensive and subjective. A healthcare professional must view and analyze hours of video-EEG recordings, and rely on their ability to notice often slight behavioral changes.

Now, researchers have used AI technology called MoSeq (or Motion Sequencing) to analyze the behavior of epileptic mice, identifying the behavioral “fingerprints’ that can go unnoticed by the human eye.

MoSeq is a machine-learning technology that trains an unsupervised machine to identify repeated patterns of behavior. After identifying the behaviors, MoSeq offers a set of visualization tools and statistical tests to help scientists understand those behaviors and compare them to a range of experimental conditions.

Using MoSeq to analyze 3D videos of freely moving mice, the researchers were able to locate, track and quantify the behavior of the mice. They found that the technology could better distinguish between epileptic and non-epileptic mice, outperforming trained human observers. Moreover, it required only one hour of video recording and did not need a seizure to occur before offering its analysis, unlike traditional methods.

Researchers were able to use the AI to differentiate between patterns of behavior in the mice after they were given one of three anti-epileptic medications.

The successful use of machine-learning technology demonstrates its potential for use in humans to provide a faster, less labor-intensive, less costly and more objective way to diagnose epilepsy and test the efficacy of anti-epileptic medications.


Source:, Pau; McClure

MUM’S AGONY Doctors told me my daughter’s condition wouldn’t kill her – she died two years later

MUM’S AGONY Doctors told me my daughter’s condition wouldn’t kill her – she died two years later

WHEN Deborah Leigh’s daughter was diagnosed with a rare condition causing seizures, she claims doctors told her it wouldn’t prove fatal.

Yet, two years later, the devastated mum found her 25-year-old child, Helen, lifeless on the floor of her home.

After a desperate attempt to perform CPR, Helen died.

The phlebotomist from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, had suffered her first seizure in March 2013, leading doctors to diagnose her with epilepsy in November the following year.

But, after suffering three seizures in September 2015, mum Deborah said Helen’s diagnosis was changed from epilepsy to non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD).

Deborah claims that doctors told her at the time that her daughter could not die of NEAD.

Now she wants to raise awareness about the little-known condition.

Deborah said: “Not once before Helen died were we told that you can have both epilepsy and NEAD.

But Helen’s neurologist wrote to her family after her death in May 2018, saying: ‘In retrospect, Helen probably had both epileptic and NEAD seizures.’

“Well, you can imagine how that went down,” Deborah said.

“I was so angry – and still am.”

“I think Helen’s death was avoidable.”

She added: “Had we known this, we would have been able to have different conversations with those treating her, which could have meant further investigations and tests, and resulted in her receiving the correct treatment.”

After receiving her epilepsy diagnosis in 2014, Helen was prescribed anti-epilepsy drugs.

Deborah said: “The medication seemed to work and she went eight months without a seizure.

“Then her medication was changed and she had every side effect going.”

Helen was then again prescribed her old medication, but it was titrated. This means that medication is started at a low dose and upped every few weeks until an effective dosage is reached or side effects occur.

Doctors gave Helen a lower dosage of the medicine to see how it affected her seizures, mum Deborah said.

But on Deborah’s birthday in September 2015, Helen had three seizures.

Deborah filmed one of them to show the neurology team.

The video led the team to re-evaluate Helen’s diagnosis, from epilepsy to NEAD.

According to Epilepsy Action, NEAD attacks are “dissociative seizures” which are “not caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain”.

The charity says: “Instead, it’s thought they are a physical reaction to distressing triggers such as sensations, thoughts, emotions and difficult situations.

“Some experts say dissociative seizures are the brain’s way of ‘shutting down’ to protect itself from overwhelming distress.

“Some dissociative seizures look very similar to epileptic seizures, whilst others look more like fainting.”

About one in every five people referred to hospital for seizures are diagnosed with dissociative seizures, the charity wrote.

Deborah said she had never heard of the condition but claimed she was told by doctors that people cannot die from it.

The main treatment for dissociative seizures is psychological therapy, also called talking therapy, according to Epilepsy Action.

As a result, Deborah said Helen was taken off medication despite still suffering seizures once or twice a month.

What is non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD)?

Some seizures people experience don’t seem to have a physical cause, mental health charity Mind says.

People with dissociative disorders can have them – they’re called dissociative seizures or non-epileptic attacks.

They may be caused by the brain dealing with overwhelming stress by ‘shutting down’.

If you have a dissociative seizure you may:

  • Have convulsions of the arms, legs, head or body (on one side or affecting the whole body)
  • Lose control of your bladder or bowels
  • Bite your tongue
  • Go blank or stare in an unseeing way
  • Have other symptoms that look like epilepsy

You might be diagnosed with NEAD if you experience these.

Meanwhile, people with epilepsy suffer seizures due to bursts of electrical activity in the brain that temporarily affect how it works.

Possible symptoms include:

  • uncontrollable jerking and shaking, called a “fit”
  • losing awareness and staring blankly into space
  • becoming stiff
  • strange sensations, such as a “rising” feeling in the tummy, unusual smells or tastes, and a tingling feeling in your arms or legs
  • collapsing

Sometimes you might pass out and not remember what happened.

What is non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD)?

Some seizures people experience don’t seem to have a physical cause, mental health charity Mind says.

People with dissociative disorders can have them – they’re called dissociative seizures or non-epileptic attacks.

They may be caused by the brain dealing with overwhelming stress by ‘shutting down’.

If you have a dissociative seizure you may:

  • Have convulsions of the arms, legs, head or body (on one side or affecting the whole body)
  • Lose control of your bladder or bowels
  • Bite your tongue
  • Go blank or stare in an unseeing way
  • Have other symptoms that look like epilepsy

You might be diagnosed with NEAD if you experience these.

Meanwhile, people with epilepsy suffer seizures due to bursts of electrical activity in the brain that temporarily affect how it works.

Possible symptoms include:

  • uncontrollable jerking and shaking, called a “fit”
  • losing awareness and staring blankly into space
  • becoming stiff
  • strange sensations, such as a “rising” feeling in the tummy, unusual smells or tastes, and a tingling feeling in your arms or legs
  • collapsing

Sometimes you might pass out and not remember what happened.

“The post mortem report concluded that Helen had “suffered from non-epileptic attack disorder along with migraine, dyslexia and hypothyroidism.

“The condition which led to her seizures is considered to be a psychiatric condition which is managed and treated in a different manner to that of traditional epilepsy. It is a condition which is considered to be not typically associated with aspiration and unexpected death.”

Source:, Eliza Loukou

I Thought My Seizures Were ‘All In My Head’ – But I Wasn’t Making Them Up

I Thought My Seizures Were ‘All In My Head’ – But I Wasn’t Making Them Up

In 2019 I began losing control of my body and started having seizures. Initially they were every few months but became increasingly frequent until they were happening four times a day, lasting up to an hour at a time. My right arm developed a permanent tremor and I suffered from severe exhaustion. Having been signed off work, I was tested for multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, early onset Parkinson’s and epilepsy. All the results came back negative.
Travelling, socializing or even leaving the house became difficult. On one occasion I stood in Paddington station and missed three consecutive trains because my seizure made walking difficult and the platform announcement was so close to departure that I couldn’t get there in time. I stood and I cried and I shook and no one helped me. I desperately wanted to know what was wrong but I didn’t realize that how medical professionals would explain my diagnosis would be as important as the diagnosis itself.
I was passed from specialist to specialist until eventually I spoke to a neurologist who asked me, as we were talking, to tap my thumb and middle finger together on my left hand. As I did so, the tremor in my right arm stopped. From this small exercise, I finally got a diagnosis: functional neurological disorder (FND).
FND is a software problem rather than a hardware problem, meaning that the brain is physically healthy but struggles to process information it receives from the body. My immediate reaction was shame. I had been off work for months, lost control of my limbs and was now being told it was psychological. Why couldn’t I control my brain? Had I been subconsciously making myself ill? I wanted to tell my brain to stop but it wouldn’t listen. But as I began to learn, I could distract it. Tapping out a pattern with my fingers or toes, as the neurologist had shown me, shifted my brain’s focus away from my tremor or seizure and stopped the symptoms.
I recently spoke to Hollie-Anne Brookes, a journalist and disability rights activist who also suffers from FND, after connecting through her article about her experience. From our conversation I have learned that my feelings were not unusual. “I did feel really ashamed… I remember breaking down to my mum and my boyfriend at the time and saying: ‘I’m so sorry.’ I felt the need to apologize so much for my diagnosis.”
According to consultant neurologist Jon Stone, who runs the website, FND is one of the most common neurological diagnoses. The exact number of people affected by FND is unclear but it is believed that 50,000 to 100,000 people in the UK could be affected by the two most common types: functional seizures and functional movement disorders. According to a meta-analysis of 4,905 cases, it is particularly prevalent among young women yet few people have heard of it, including doctors. The FND support group FNDAction ran a campaign in 2022 to raise awareness of FND among frontline NHS staff, called #InformTheDoctor. FND has been historically under-researched, having been “marginalised” as an area of study in the 20th century. Enormous advances have been made in the past 10 years, improving diagnosis, treatment and understanding. Investigation is now ongoing as to why the disorder is more common in women and, indeed, what causes it.
The disorder affects how the brain sends and receives information. As humans, we have subconscious templates for reacting to situations. When we step onto an escalator, for example, our brain adjusts so that the escalator’s movement doesn’t unbalance us. FND is like stepping onto an escalator that isn’t moving – you can see it is stationary but your brain overrides your eyes and adjusts to its template, creating the lurching sensation. FND can present via a plethora of symptoms but the most common are tremors, seizures, limb weakness, reduced sensation in parts of the body, tics and dizziness. These are frequently accompanied by fatigue, pain, headaches and anxiety. Mark Edwards, professor of neurology at King’s College, London and FND specialist, previously wrote: “There has been historically a lot of emphasis on psychological trauma, or more broadly ‘stress’ as a triggering factor … However, this does not mean that all, even the majority of people with FND have had such experiences. It also does not necessarily mean that if such stressful life events have occurred that this is the direct cause of FND.”
As humans, we have subconscious templates for reacting to situations. When we step onto an escalator, our brain adjusts so that the escalator’s movement doesn’t unbalance us. FND is like stepping onto an escalator that isn’t moving – you can see it is stationary but your brain overrides your eyes and adjusts to its template, creating the lurching sensation.
Although not all cases of FND are triggered by trauma, Edwards goes on to say: “In my experience the commonest scenario at the onset of FND is the combination of a ‘typical’ physical event (illness, injury) and a period prior to this of hard work, a degree of fatigue caused by this and ‘normal’ chronic life stressors that affect many people.”
What we now know as FND has been scrutinized historically through clinical observation but has gone by many different names and levels of stigmatization: hysteria, nervous system disorder, conversion disorder or psychogenic or non-organic illness. Over the last century, the term ‘hysteria’ was replaced by ‘conversion disorders’ and this, in turn, has been replaced by functional neurological disorder. It is only in recent years that FND has become a recognized term and more thorough research into the condition has begun taking place.
Research has found a connection between FND and the stress hormone cortisol. Whenever I was stressed, tired or anxious, my brain went into autopilot and I would have a seizure. This loss of control of my body was terrifying and the fear caused my body to produce more cortisol, creating a debilitating loop.
I was spiraling downwards, slowly growing more disabled. The longer my FND remained untreated, the more habitual the symptoms became for my brain. Inevitably, those incorrect templates became more and more embedded. When untreated, the progression of FND varies between patients: the symptoms can remain mild and consistent or increase in severity to a point where a wheelchair is required or sufferers are unable to leave their homes. The diagnosis of FND was in many ways a relief – I finally knew what was wrong with me. But it also presented its own problems. Being diagnosed with a neurological disorder made it feel like I was making it up, or it was self-inflicted. I was embarrassed and ashamed by my diagnosis. If it was my brain causing these seizures then it was my fault, I thought. I must be having them intentionally. Patients commonly struggle to accept that such physical symptoms are psychosomatic. Dr Sandra Eriemo, a cognitive behavioral therapist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, tells R29: “The patient knows the symptoms are real so it can be very demoralizing to think you are being told it’s all in your head. People think they are not being believed.” How the patient is told about the diagnosis is vital.
There is life-changing treatment available through the NHS. Hollie-Anne and I both attended a six-week program in the neuropsychiatry department of UCLH (she completed her treatment the week before mine started). We were taught that FND was not our fault and couldn’t be switched off without training. The treatment consisted of physiotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and occupational therapy. We learned to identify the cause and triggers of our FND and how to regain control during flare-ups.
Being diagnosed with a neurological disorder made it feel like I was making it up, or it was self-inflicted.
It is common for FND patients to exist in a cycle of boom and bust. On the days where their symptoms feel more manageable they do too much, leading to a flare-up the following day and a negative impact on both the individual’s mood (following the burst of cortisol) and their perception of their ability to live a ‘normal’ life. The physiotherapy and occupational therapy worked on a graded exercise plan so that each day a patient would do slightly more than on a typical ‘bad’ day and slightly less than on a ‘good’ day, breaking the cycle to create steady improvement.
Patients are taught ways to manage their symptoms, both physically and psychologically. Alongside learning more about tapping techniques to distract my brain, I was taught to lean into the involuntary movement. If my arm was trembling, I would try and make that tremor bigger and more pronounced until I could control the movement of it, then slowly reduce the speed until stopping it. I learned that the seizures were linked to anxiety or stress triggers and was taught breathing exercises and meditation techniques to calm my nervous system and reduce cortisol production. Similarly, CBT worked to manage thoughts and behaviors that could be marring my recovery. Where required, psychologists were on hand to help patients identify and process past traumas. Through this six-week program, Hollie-Anne learned to walk again. I learned to manage my seizures and was able to return to work.
From the development of symptoms to GP appointments, specialist referrals, diagnosis and then waiting times for treatment, the process is a lengthy one. Following my referral, I waited a year and a half before being accepted for treatment. This was unusually quick, according to hospital staff and other patients I’ve spoken to. My proximity to the hospital meant I could complete the program during the pandemic as I could keep travel to a minimum; others I spoke to on the course had been waiting much longer, often several years. While someone diagnosed with FND could seek independent therapists in each of the above areas, it can be incredibly difficult to get the necessary referrals through the NHS. Even then, it is not guaranteed that the therapist will be familiar with FND or know how to treat it specifically.
Patients must believe FND is the problem before they’re accepted for treatment and not read the diagnosis as a dismissal of their pain. Sandra explains: “It is vital that the diagnosis is delivered in a way that makes clear the symptoms are real. Acceptance of the diagnosis is vital for treatment to be effective. It is not worthwhile pretending you accept the diagnosis in order to get treatment as [the treatment then] tends not to be effective.” Doctors reach a diagnosis of FND through a process of elimination and patients can feel like they’re only receiving the diagnosis because the doctor has run out of other options. My doctor could see my physical symptoms, name a condition and then prove he was correct by giving me an immediate way of stopping it. That showed me he believed my illness was real.
Training in how to recognize FND and communicate the diagnosis to the patient must be rolled out across the medical profession. The condition can be debilitating but the right treatment is transformative and can give people with FND, like me, their lives back.
Societally, we still divide ‘medical health’ and ‘mental health’. It is more accepted to discuss treating a physical ailment through medication than it is to explain we are treating a disability through therapy. FND needs to be more widely recognized to be destigmatized and eradicate the shame many of us feel around diagnosis. This will speed up the diagnostic process and help patients to accept the information, giving them the best chance of recovery.
The treatment, above anything else, starts with the diagnosis.
Source:, OCCY CARR
12 Best Foods for a Healthy Brain and Better Memory

12 Best Foods for a Healthy Brain and Better Memory

These foods will help you maintain a healthy brain and may even prevent conditions like dementia.

It’s not often that the brain thinks about itself and all that it does to keep us properly functioning. However, the reality is that it takes a lot of energy to think, move and go about our daily lives. And our brain needs adequate fuel to do its job well.

Studies show that, on average, the brain accounts for about 20% of the calories we burn daily. However, that doesn’t mean any food will help your brain power through. When it comes to bolstering your brain to do its best work — staying focused and maintaining a strong memory — some foods are much better than others.

Consuming nutrient-dense foods will not only keep you brain happy and healthy, but may also aid in preventing diseases like dementia. The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes consumption of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and fish, has shown promising results in prevent age-related conditions. This diet has also been shown to lower high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

If you want to keep your mind in good shape, here are the 12 best foods for brain health.

Leafy greens

Not to parrot your mother, but she was right on this one. Those leafy greens really are good for you, especially your brain. Spinach, collards, kale — you name it. These veggies are rich in brain-boosting nutrients such as beta-carotene, folic acid, lutein and vitamin K. Plus, research has shown that plant-based foods may be especially good for curbing cognitive decline.

Daily recommended intake: Aim for about 1/4 of a cup per day, or 1.5 to 2 cups a week.


Nuts are lauded as a source of protein and healthy fats. But they’re also great brain foods. Each nut has unique benefits, and including pistachios, macadamias and almonds in your diet will definitely support your brain health. But for a real mental power boost, turn to walnuts. They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, both of which are important for preventing mental decline.

Daily recommended intake: A 2021 study found that adults who consumed 15 to 30 grams of nuts per day had notably higher cognitive scores than those who ate less.

Coffee and tea

You may be accustomed to drinking coffee or tea to stay awake, but these caffeinated beverages have more to offer than a simple morning perk-up. Researchers have noted caffeine’s ability to boost the brain’s information-processing capacity, and coffee also packs many powerful antioxidants, which may help support brain health. In addition to both of these, green tea is rich in L-theanine. This powerful amino acid can help manage stress and anxiety, which is important for brain function.

Daily recommended intake: Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (about four cups of coffee or black tea) is generally considered safe for most adults.


Tomatoes are one of the best foods for brain health, thanks to their rich lycopene content. This powerful carotenoid has been shown to help stave off cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. One fresh, medium tomato contains about 3.2 milligrams of lycopene, and you can also find even more in tomato sauces, pastes and ketchup.

Daily recommended intake: Studies show that 9 to 21 milligrams of lycopene per day may be most beneficial.

Whole grains

Whole grains like whole wheat, oatmeal, barley and brown rice are essential parts of a balanced diet, and they’re known to support cardiovascular health. What’s less well-known is that many whole grains are rich in vitamin E, an important antioxidant that helps reduce the presence of free radicals and prevent neurological damage. Experts also favor consuming vitamin E in its natural form rather than via supplements, making whole grains a great choice for boosting vitamin E intake.

Daily recommended intake: Guidelines recommend at least three servings of whole grains per day, totaling at least 48 grams.


Leafy greens aren’t the only green veggies that make the list of the best foods for brain health. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are also important. These vegetables contain high doses of glucosinolates. When combined with water, these compounds produce isothiocyanates, powerful metabolites known to have neuroprotective properties.

Daily recommended intake: The USDA recommends that adults eat 1.5 to 2.5 grams of cruciferous vegetables per week.

Salmon and tuna

You may make it a habit to avoid fatty foods, but when it comes to fish, fat is a good thing. Fish such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with many positive health outcomes, including for the brain. In particular, these healthy fats have been tied to lower levels of beta-amyloid in the blood. This damaging protein forms clumps in the brain that often lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

Daily recommended intake: Aim for at least two servings of low-mercury fish such as salmon and light tuna per week.


An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a bunch of berries keeps mental decline at bay. Berries are one of the best brain foods because they’re packed with flavonoids. Not only do these natural pigments make berries colorful, but they also improve brain function, particularly when it comes to memory.

Daily recommended intake: Eating at least two servings (half a cup each) of berries per week has been shown to slow memory decline by as much as two-and-a-half years.

Dark chocolate

If you’re looking for food that’s good for your brain, a delicious treat like dark chocolate might not come to mind. But dark chocolate brings together many of the benefits of the other foods on this list. It’s full of antioxidants, flavonoids and caffeine, making it one of the more brain-healthy foods you can eat. Don’t say I didn’t give you any good news.

Daily recommended intake: A small snack of dark chocolate, 30 to 60 grams a few times a week, may help improve brain function. Make sure it’s at least 70% dark to get the most benefits and limit calories from sugar.


They may be small, but seeds are as nutrient-packed as many nuts, and they make a great snack to munch on. Sunflower seeds, in particular, are rich in vitamin E, whose brain benefits we’ve discussed above. Pumpkin seeds are also a potent source of antioxidants and important minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Each of these minerals can help guard against cognitive decline or brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression and even epilepsy.

Daily recommended intake: Try to eat 1/8 to 1/4 of a cup of seeds, three or four times a week. You can mix up the types, from pumpkin and sunflower seeds to chia seeds and ground flaxseeds.


This go-to breakfast food isn’t just good for a morning protein punch. Eggs are also rich in several important B vitamins, including B6, B12 and B9 (folic acid). Studies show that these vitamins may help prevent brain shrinkage and curb mental decline in older adults.

Daily recommended intake: For most adults, one egg a day is a good target. Your doctor may recommend more or less based on your overall health and cholesterol levels.


Your spice rack probably isn’t the first place you think to look when you’re considering good brain foods. But turmeric, a major ingredient in curry powders, isn’t something you’ll want to overlook if you want to support a healthy mind. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been linked to various positive outcomes for brain health, from protecting against Alzheimer’s to supporting brain cell growth.

Daily recommended intake: Because turmeric is a spice, you likely won’t be able to get as much as you need simply from cooking with it. Speak with your doctor about whether a curcumin supplement would be a good option for you.

Supplements for a healthy brain

In brain health, as with any type of nutrition, it’s best to meet most or all of your needs through your normal daily diet. In other words, eating the foods we’ve looked at above is the best way to keep your brain functioning well for the long haul.

However, if you find it difficult to get what you need with these brain foods, it may be helpful to include some supplements in your diet. You might consider supplements or multivitamins containing any of the following:

  • B vitamins, especially B6, B12 and B9
  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-carotene
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Curcumin
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Brain health is critical to your overall health and well-being, so be sure to consult your physician before you add any supplements to your diet.


Source:, Luke Daugherty

Epilepsy can’t be cured, but you still can enjoy life to the fullest

Epilepsy can’t be cured, but you still can enjoy life to the fullest

Epilepsy can impact physical and emotional well-being, but treatments can help.

Epilepsy can severely affect your quality of life, and while there is no cure for epilepsy, there are interventions that can prevent symptoms, counteract side effects of medicines and control seizures. In other words, epilepsy doesn’t have to sideline you from the game of life.

In order to determine the best treatment plan for managing epilepsy, it is important to understand the impact that psychosocial factors have on your life and how that interacts with an epilepsy diagnosis.

The impact of epilepsy

Epilepsy can affect your physical mobility, memory and even your ability to work or drive, so treatment is crucial. In addition to these physical effects, the emotional impact of epilepsy on a patient should not be understated.

“We look at the whole person to figure out their psychosocial history and assess appropriate interventions,” said Caitlin Zoeller, LCSW, social worker with Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers. “That means taking a detailed inventory of someone’s emotional, mental and physical health to get a complete picture.”

Epilepsy and medications to treat it may impair concentration, affect energy levels, or lead to anxiety or depression that ultimately affect a patient’s quality of life. A psychosocial assessment helps providers ensure that an intervention plan treats the whole patient. They may recommend medication, surgical treatment, support groups, physical therapy or driving assessments to support the patient’s journey.

Education is key

It is important to have patience with yourself and others as you process your diagnosis and condition. In addition to understanding your psychosocial history, it also can be important to educate friends, family and co-workers about the condition.

“People see things on TV or in movies about people with epilepsy,” Caitlin said. “Epilepsy symptoms vary widely. People might make assumptions about your condition that don’t necessarily apply to you.”

The first step is to educate the people around you about your epilepsy and to be honest about your limitations.

“You want to make sure they understand how epilepsy may impact your life, like not being able to drive after a seizure or missing work,” Caitlin said.

You also can invite people to educate themselves.

“Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers have an abundance of resources for patients to use and share with others,” Caitlin said. “The most important piece of advice I can share is that you don’t have to go it alone if you have epilepsy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”


Source:, Sara Thompson

Living with intention: Life as a student with Epilepsy

Living with intention: Life as a student with Epilepsy

Kiley Flowers, a DePaul University senior, lives with epilepsy, a neurological disorder  characterized by recurrent episodes of seizures. She lives independently in the city and is able to lead a functional life taking classes, hanging out with her roommates and, most importantly, is seizure-free.

Flowers first received her diagnosis in 2014.

This diagnosis came after experiencing seizure episodes and doctor and hospital visits at 13. She was told by doctors that she would never be able to live on her own, never be able to drive and would most likely be collecting disability for the rest of her life.

“In some ways, I was relieved that I finally knew what was wrong with me,” Flowers said. “For so long, they had no idea what my diagnosis was, but ultimately, it felt like my life was over.”

Kiley also recalled that with the diagnoses, she began having severe depression in which she would not even be able to get out of bed, soon accepting that looming seizures were her fate forever.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3.4 million people are living with epilepsy nationwide. If left untreated, it can result in long-lasting seizures, and in rare cases SUDEP, which is sudden unexpected death.

Yet, every assumption her doctors have had about the future have been untrue. After spending years changing medications, with the help of her doctor, she was able to secure the perfect prescription. She is happy to report that she is thriving at DePaul. She even notes that it has changed her mind set to appreciate her life.

“I never take getting out of the bed in the morning for granted because there were days that I thought I wouldn’t ever be able to,” she said.

Epilepsy has also affected the lives of her roommates who felt as if their lives had also been changed by epilepsy, but for them, it was for the better.

“Living with someone with epilepsy has made me more aware of hazards that I used to never think twice about,” wrote Nadia Chavez, Flowers’ roommate, in an email.

She talked to me about a time that the light started flickering in their apartment bathroom and Chavez would have thought nothing about it originally but remembered the negative effects on Kiley and made sure to change it.

This is not without work. Flowers has created a lifestyle for herself that has been able to ensure there are not unexpected seizures. Her day includes daily walks, midday naps, rigorous medications and making sure she stays out of flashing lighting.

The university also ensures that Flowers and every other student living with her same diagnoses can live and study safely. When reaching out to the Center for Students with Disabilities, assistant director, T.C Schneck commented that students with epilepsy at DePaul are set up for success and said students can “… submit a Seizure Action Plan, which is written and signed by their doctor.”

This plan would list:

  1. The kinds of seizures the student experiences and how often they occur.
  2. The corresponding symptoms of each seizure type.
  3. Specific actions faculty should take in regards to each seizure.

With these added security measures, Flowers is able to pursue an education with DePaul.

Flowers is fortunate enough to not let the diagnoses define her. Her medications have been consistent for the past two years, which is why she is able to tell her story today.

“With getting the diagnoses and being on meds, you have to get in the mindset of being prepared if things go wrong because things go wrong in an instant,” she said. This is why she believes she is so mindful and intentional about her life. She has to value every second she has because she knows what it was like to not know if she would be alive the next day.

While Flowers’ future is unknown, she knows that she will value every day she has and that the education and independence she feels grateful to receive was not without years of struggle. Flowers is currently on track to graduate with a master’s in PR and advertising next year. She remains intentional and while she will carry epilepsy with her for the rest of her life, she is glad she can live it out.


Source:, Madeline Ruhl

Potential treatment target for rare form of infant epilepsy identified

Potential treatment target for rare form of infant epilepsy identified

Research from Tufts University School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences lends hope to families of patients with infantile spasms syndrome.

New research from Tufts University School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences suggests that the timing of the death of certain inhibitory neurons in the brain shortly after birth may be at least partly to blame for infantile spasms syndrome (ISS), a rare but devastating form of epilepsy that develops most frequently between four and eight months of age but can emerge within weeks of birth until ages 4 or 5.

Their research in mice suggests both a potential new target for treatment and raises the hope that, in the future, early diagnosis and treatment could detect and prevent some of the most significant impairments associated with the syndrome. The research was published Jan. 30 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Approximately 2,000 to 2,500 new cases of infantile spasms syndrome are diagnosed each year. In most cases infants appear to be developing normally until they develop seizures that look like a sudden bending forward of the body and stiffening of the arms and legs. Some infants arch their backs as they extend their arms and legs. Some have hundreds of these seizures each day. While infantile spasms usually stop by age five, they are replaced by other types of seizures. Infants and children with the condition frequently have abnormal electroencephalograms (EEGs), significant neurological impairments, and are at higher risk for autism.

“Early treatment of seizures can improve outcomes, but most available therapies are not effective and can cause significant complications, including blindness,” explains the study’s corresponding author, Chris Dulla, associate professor of neuroscience at the School of Medicine and program faculty at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Neuronal Balancing Act

Research on the disease has focused on the role played by various pathways that control the balance between two types of neurons in the brain: excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Most neurons in the brain are excitatory, activating other neurons and creating electrical signals to drive brain functions. Inhibitory neurons restrain that neuronal firing.

While the molecular causes of ISS are not well defined, disrupted inhibitory GABAergic network development has been implicated in multiple mouse models.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) interneurons are the main inhibitory neurons in the central nervous system, and they play a critical role in a variety of processes including cognitive function and information integration and processing. Dysfunctional GABA interneuron activity can disrupt the balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the cerebral cortex of the brain.

Researchers have identified several genes associated with ISS, all of which are linked to the b-catenin signaling pathway, which helps to regulate the balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the brain. “During normal brain development, too many inhibitory interneurons are made, but then disappear,” explains Dulla. “Research suggests that an overabundance of interneuron death seems to occur at the same time as the spasms associated with ISS develop.”

In their research, the Tufts scientists focused their studies on the b-catenin signaling pathway in a mouse model, originally developed by neuroscientist and School of Medicine professor Michele Jacob, that develops a condition analogous to ISS. The mice also demonstrate intellectual disabilities and behavioral abnormalities corresponding to human autism spectrum disorder.

The researchers determined that cortical parvalbumin-positive interneuron development and function are altered in the mice. These neurons are the largest class of GABAergic, inhibitory neurons in the central nervous system.

Their research also suggests that it may be the timing of inhibitory neuron cell death which is important, not just the fact that it happens. “If the inhibitory neurons are dying too quickly, this enables the excitatory neurons to go wild,” Dulla explains.

“We saw that the levels of excitatory neuronal activity were increased at all ages,” notes Rachael F. Ryner, the lead author of the study who received her PhD from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2022. “But the interplay between excitatory and inhibitory neurons is extraordinarily complex. Because we see a couple of treatments that work in some children but not all, we believe ISS really has a wide range of causes.”

The new research raises a myriad of questions. If scientists find one or more mechanisms that cause inhibitory neurons to die too quickly, can that process be slowed or timed appropriately to prevent at least some ISS cases from developing, or at least minimize the damage ISS is associated with? Because multiple genes seem to be involved in the development of ISS, should genetic screening be performed to identify infants at risk? And lastly, could those at risk then be given specialized EEGs early in life to detect abnormal brain events, and successful treatments provided before permanent damage occurs?

Research reported in this article was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke under award R01-NS100706, CURE Epilepsy as part of the Infantile Spasm Initiative, and The American Epilepsy Society. Complete information on authors, funders, and conflicts of interest is available in the published paper. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funders.

Source:, Tufts University

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