Tag Archives: Epilepsy

Child Epilepsy

Definition:
Epilepsy is a nervous system condition that causes electrical signals in the brain to misfire. These disruptions cause temporary communication problems between nerve cells, leading to seizures. One seizure is not considered epilepsy — kids with epilepsy have multiple seizures over a period of time.

Epilepsy affects people in all nations and of all races. The onset of epilepsy is most common during childhood and after age 65, but the condition can occur at any age. Epilepsy is a condition of the nervous system that affects 2.5 million Americans. More than 180,000 people are diagnosed with epilepsy every year. In epilepsy, the normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. These physical changes are called epileptic seizures Seizures occur when there’s a sudden change in the normal way your brain cells communicate through electrical signals. Seizures can be triggered in anyone under certain conditions, such as life-threatening dehydration or high temperature. Other types of seizures not classified as epilepsy include those caused by an imbalance of body fluids or chemicals or by alcohol or drug withdrawal. A single seizure does not mean that the person has epilepsy. EEGs and brain scans are common diagnostic test for epilepsy.

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Epilepsy:

* is not the only cause of childhood seizures
* is not a mental illness
* does not usually affect intelligence
* is not contagious
* does not typically worsen over time

Causes of Epilepsy

In about half the cases of epilepsy, there is an identifiable cause.The common Causes are:-

*Injury to baby during delivery

*Hydrocephalus-excessive fluid in the brain

*Delay in delivery with decreased oxygen supply to brain.

* infectious illness (such as meningitis or encephalitis)
* brain malformation during pregnancy
* trauma to the brain (including lack of oxygen) during birth or an accident
* underlying metabolic disorders

* brain tumors,tuberculosis, parasites in the brain

*Drugs e.g. pencillin chloroquine, medicines for depression, angina.

* blood vessel malformation
* strokes
* chromosome disorders

The other half of epilepsy cases are idiopathic (the cause is unknown). In some of these, there may be a family history of epilepsy — a child who has a parent or other close family member with the condition is more likely to have it too. Researchers are working to determine what specific genetic factors are responsible.

Symptoms :

Some Symptoms of Epilepsy :

* Seizures

*Fainting.

*Memory loss.

*Changes in mood or energy level.

*Dizziness.

*Headache.

*Confusion.
Understanding Seizures
Seizures vary in severity, frequency, and duration (they typically last from a few seconds to several minutes). There are many different kinds of seizures, and what occurs during one depends on where in the brain the electrical signals are disrupted.

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The two main categories of seizures are generalized seizures, which involve the whole brain, and partial seizures, which involve only part of the brain. Some people with epilepsy experience both kinds.

Seizures can be scary — a child may lose consciousness or jerk or thrash violently. Milder seizures may leave a child confused or unaware of his or her surroundings. Some seizures are so small that only an experienced eye could detect them — a child may simply blink or stare into space for a moment before resuming normal activity.

During a seizure, it’s very important to stay calm and keep your child safe. Be sure to:

*Lay your child down away from furniture, stairs, or radiators.
*Put something soft under his or her head.
*Turn your child on his or her side so fluid in the mouth can come out.
*Never stick anything in your child’s mouth or try to restrain him or her.

Do your best to note how often the seizures take place, what happens during them, and how long they last and report this to your doctor. Once a seizure is over, watch your child for signs of confusion. He or she may want to sleep and you should allow that. Do not give extra medication unless the doctor has prescribed it.

Children who suffer from partial seizures may be frightened or confused by what has happened. Offer plenty of comfort and reassure your child that you’re there and everything is OK.

Most seizures are not life-threatening, but if one lasts longer than 5 minutes or your child seems to have trouble breathing afterward, call 999 for immediate medical attention.

Diagnosis
Talk to your doctor if your child has seizures, staring spells, confusion spells, shaking spells, or unexplained deterioration of school performance. The doctor can refer you to a paediatric neurologist, who will take a patient medical history and examine your child, looking for findings that suggest problems with the brain and the rest of the neurologic system.

If the doctor suspects epilepsy, tests will be ordered, which may include:

1) electroencephalography (EEG), which measures electrical activity in the brain via sensors secured to the scalp while the child lays on a bed. It is a painless test, which takes about 1 hour.
2) a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test
3) a computerised tomography (CT) scan, both of which look at images of the brain

Treating Epilepsy
Your doctor will use the test and exam results to determine the best form of treatment. Medication to prevent seizures is usually the first type of treatment prescribed for epilepsy management. Many children can be successfully treated with one medication — and if the first doesn’t work, the doctor will usually try a second or even a third before resorting to combinations of medications.

Although medications often work, if your child is unresponsive after the second or third attempts, it’s less likely that subsequent medications will be effective. In this case, surgery to remove the affected part of the brain may be necessary. Epilepsy surgery is done in less than 10% of seizure patients, and only after an extensive screening and evaluation process.

Additional treatments can be used for epilepsy that is unresponsive to medications. The doctor may implant a vagus nerve stimulator in the neck, or recommend a ketogenic diet, a high-protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that can be very successful in helping to manage seizures.

Even people who respond successfully to medication sometimes have seizures (called “breakthrough seizures”). These don’t mean your child’s medication needs to be changed, although you should let the doctor know when they occur.

Click to see Suppliment recomendations for Epilepsy

Living With Epilepsy
To help prevent seizures, make sure your child:

* takes medication(s) as prescribed
* avoids triggers (such as fever and overtiredness)
* sees the neurologist as recommended — about two to four times a year — even if responding well to medication

Keeping your child well-fed, well-rested, and non-stressed are all key factors that can help manage epilepsy. You should also take common-sense precautions based on how well-controlled the epilepsy is. For example:

* Younger children should have only supervised baths.
* Swimming or bike-riding alone are not good ideas for kids with epilepsy. A helmet is required for cycling, as for all kids.

With some simple safety precautions, your child should be able to play, participate in sports or other activities, and generally do what other children like to do. Teenagers with epilepsy will probably be able to drive with some restrictions, as long as the seizures are controlled.

It’s important to make sure that other adults who care for your child — family members, babysitters, teachers, coaches, etc. — know that your child has epilepsy, understand the condition, and know what to do in the event of a seizure.

Offer your child plenty of support, discuss epilepsy openly, and answer questions honestly. Children with epilepsy may be embarrassed about the seizures, or worry about having one at school or with friends.

Epilepsy (children) – newer drugs

Epilepsy – a parent’s guide

Seizures and Epilepsy

Helping Your Child Cope With Epilepsy

Fears over child epilepsy drugs

Parents to deal with Epilectic Chield

Resources:
http://www.charliebrewersworld.com/page4.htm
http://www-epilepsy.com/

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Epilepsy and Some of its Causes

Up to 10% of people will suffer a seizure at some point, but not all of them have epilepsy. Epilepsy is a term reserved for those who suffer repeatedly from seizures.

Epilepsy is a nervous system condition that causes electrical signals in the brain to misfire. These disruptions cause temporary communication problems between nerve cells, leading to seizures. One seizure is not considered epilepsy — kids with epilepsy have multiple seizures over a period of time.

Epileptic seizure-

Anything that disrupts the normal pattern of brain activity can trigger the condition. A specific cause can be identified in only about 30% of people with epilepsy.

COMMON CAUSES

* Head trauma

* A lack of oxygen during birth

* Infections such as meningitis

* Stroke

* Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative brain disorders

* Brain tumors and other abnormalities in the brain‘s structure

* An imbalance of neurotransmitters or other chemical functions in the brain

In about half the cases of epilepsy, there is an identifiable cause. These include:

* infectious illness (such as meningitis or encephalitis)
* brain malformation during pregnancy
* trauma to the brain (including lack of oxygen) during birth or an accident
* underlying metabolic disorders
* brain tumors
* blood vessel malformation
* strokes
* chromosome disorders

The other half of epilepsy cases are idiopathic (the cause is unknown). In some of these, there may be a family history of epilepsy — a child who has a parent or other close family member with the condition is more likely to have it too. Researchers are working to determine what specific genetic factors are responsible.

Sources: Los Angles Times & http://www.charliebrewersworld.com/page4.htm

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Drug Dilemma

Anti epilepsy drugs if taken during pregnancy may raise the risk of birth defects:

A widely used anti epilepsy drug called topiramate raises the risk of birth defects as much as 14-fold when taken by pregnant women, especially in combination with another drug called valproate, say researchers.

However, the study involved only 203 women and thus there was still significant statistical uncertainty about it, they caution.

But the results are not surprising, they added, because the drug — sold by Johnson & Johnson under the brand name Topamax — has been shown to cause similar defects in animals. Other epilepsy drugs that have been studied have also been found to increase the risk of such defects, suggesting that the entire class of drugs may interfere with the reproductive process.

Despite the enormous risks, doctors say that epileptic women cannot stop taking the drugs during pregnancy because the seizures can also damage the unborn infant, perhaps even more severely.

But women who are taking the drug to prevent migraines should halt its use if they become pregnant or are planning to do so, said Dr John Craig of the Royal Group of Hospitals in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who led the research, published recently in Neurology.

Epilepsy is a disorder characterised by powerful seizures. Topamax accounts for about one in every five prescriptions for treating it.

Valproate, which is one of the most common drugs used in treating the problem, has previously been associated with birth defects or foetal death in about 20 per cent of women who take it.

Craig and his colleagues studied 203 women who became pregnant while taking topiramate either alone or in combination with other epilepsy drugs. Of the 203 pregnancies, 18 ended in spontaneous abortions, two in still births and five in induced abortions.

Of those born, 16 had major birth defects. Three of those were in mothers who had taken only topiramate and 13 in those who had taken it in combination with other drugs.

Four of the babies had cleft palates or lips, a rate 11 times higher than the normal rate of one in 500 expected among women not taking epilepsy drugs. Four male babies had genital birth defects, which is 14 times higher than the normal rate of one in 300.

The women in the study were part of the UK Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register, which was set up to determine the relative safety of such drugs.

Sources: Los Angles Times

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Diet Treatment Call for Epilepsy

A special high-fat diet helps to control fits in children with epilepsy, a UK trial suggests.

The number of seizures fell by a third in children on the “ketogenic” diet, where previously they had suffered fits every day despite medication.

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Seizures are caused by bursts of electrical activity in the brain

The diet alters the body’s metabolism by mimicking the effects of starvation, the researchers reported in the Lancet Neurology.

The researchers called for the diet to be more widely available on the NHS.

It is the first trial comparing the diet with routine care, even though it has been around since the 1920s.

Children are given a tailored diet very high in fat, low in carbohydrate and with controlled amounts of protein.

It is not exactly clear how it works but it seems that ketones, produced from the breakdown of fat, help to alleviate seizures.

A total of 145 children aged between two and 16 who had failed to respond to treatment with at least two anti-epileptic drugs took part in the study.
“The parents say the first two weeks are quite difficult but then it becomes much easier because you can make foods in bulk and it especially helps if you can see the benefits from it”:…………says Professor Helen Cross

Half started the diet immediately and half waited for three months.

The number of seizures in the children on the diet fell to two-thirds of what they had been, but remained unchanged in those who had not yet started the diet, the researchers reported.

Five children in the diet group saw a seizure reduction of more than 90%.

However, there were some side-effects including constipation, vomiting, lack of energy and hunger.

Availability

Professor Helen Cross, study leader and consultant in neurology at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, said the diet had been around for a long time but had fallen out of favour because it was thought to be too difficult to stick to.

“The parents say the first two weeks are quite difficult, but then it becomes much easier because you can make foods in bulk and it especially helps if you can see the benefits from it,” she said.

“We have to be sensible about it, in this study we had children who had complex epilepsy.

“If your epilepsy is easily controlled on one medication then I wouldn’t advocate the diet, but if at least two drugs have failed then it should be considered.”

She said national guidelines recommend the diet as a treatment option, but a shortage of dieticians meant it was often unavailable.

A spokesperson for Epilepsy Action said: “The results of this trial add valuable information to what is already known about the diet, presenting evidence that it works for some children with drug-resistant epilepsy.

“In addition to this, however, we also recognise that the ketogenic diet is not without its side-effects, and that the risks and benefits should be considered before prescribing, as with drug treatment.”

She said the results would hopefully encourage wider inclusion of the diet in the management of children with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Click to see also:->

Many ‘believe myths’ on epilepsy

Epilepsy took away my childhood

Epilepsy genes ‘may cut seizures

Within days she seemed calmer

Sources: BBC NEWS:3rd. May’08

Supplement Recommendations For Epilepsy

Throughout history, people prone to seizures were thought to be possessed by demons, to have special powers, or to be mentally ill. Today, we know none of this is true: Epilepsy is a condition that diminishes neither intellectual capacity, creativity, nor productivity.

Epileptic seizures

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder which causes seizures.

An epileptic seizure is caused by over-activity of the brain cells, which produces a surge of electricity.

This may be due to a variety of factors, such as brain damage from birth injuries, head injury, stroke, brain tumours and alcoholism.

There is some evidence to suggest the condition sometimes has a genetic basis – although it is rare for it to run in families.

In many instances, the cause of the condition is a mystery.

Epilepsy is caused by surges of electrical activity

Symptoms
Short periods of blackouts, confusion, or altered memory.
Repetitive blinking, chewing, or lip smacking, with or without a lack of awareness.
Lack of attention: a blank stare, no response when spoken to.
Loss of consciousness, sometimes with a loud cry, jerking muscles, or loss of bladder or bowel control; often followed by extreme fatigue.

When to Call Your Doctor
If you experience any of the above symptoms.
If you have a seizure for the first time. However, for later seizures, only falls causing an injury or one episode followed closely by another need a doctor’s immediate attention.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

What It Is
Technically not a disease, epilepsy is a disorder that results from excessive electrical activity in the brain and nervous system. Normally, brain cells transmit electrical impulses in a highly regulated manner. People with epilepsy, however, experience periods when many brain cells fire all at once. This uncontrolled discharge produces symptoms that can range from a blank stare to a loss of consciousness with convulsions. These episodes are called seizures (epilepsy is also known as seizure disorder). Having a single seizure is not necessarily a sign of epilepsy, which is actually defined as having recurrent seizures. In fact, only 27% of people who have a seizure will have another within three years.

What Causes It
In more than half of epilepsy cases, the cause of the disorder is unknown. In the remaining cases, seizures can sometimes be traced to a previous head injury, stroke, brain tumor, or brain infection. Experts think that anyone is susceptible to seizures, but for some reason, certain individuals are particularly vulnerable. Heredity seems to play some role.

How Supplements Can Help
Under no circumstances should individuals using anticonvulsant drugs for epilepsy stop taking them or reduce the dosage on their own. The supplements in the chart are not a substitute for prescription drugs. Instead, they may help correct nutritional deficiencies that can contribute to seizures or aid in controlling seizures in people who continue to have them despite medication. Supplements may eventually allow a physician to reduce the dosage of anticonvulsant drugs, which often have unpleasant side effects.

What Else You Can Do
Get plenty of sleep. Fatigue can predispose you to seizures.
Avoid alcohol. It can interfere with anticonvulsant medications and possibly contribute to seizures.
Don’t try to restrain a person having a seizure or insert a gag or anything else into his mouth to prevent him from biting his tongue. This could cause serious injury to the person or to you if he bites your fingers. Instead, cushion the person’s fall and clear away any sharp or hard objects. When the seizure is over, turn him on his side to prevent possible choking.
Preliminary research suggests that vitamin E can help people with epilepsy. One theory on seizures suggests they’re triggered by damage to the fatty membranes that surround nerve cells. With its antioxidant properties, vitamin E can inhibit the chemical changes in the body that lead to this damage. Although more study is needed, people with epilepsy can safely take 400 IU of vitamin E a day, either in a multivitamin or as a separate supplement.

Supplement Recommendations
Vitamin B Complex
Calcium/Magnesium
GABA
Kava
Manganese
Taurine

Vitamin B Complex
Dosage: 1 pill each morning with food.
Comments: Look for a B-50 complex with 50 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin; 400 mcg folic acid; and 50 mg all other B vitamins.

Calcium/Magnesium
Dosage: 250 mg each twice a day with food.
Comments: Sometimes sold in a single supplement.



GABA

Dosage: 500 mg twice a day.
Comments: Often combined with inositol; has tranquilizing effect.

Kava
Dosage: 250 mg twice a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 30% kavalactones.



Manganese

Dosage: 20 mg a day.
Comments: Take with meals.



Taurine

Dosage: 500 mg L-taurine 3 times a day on an empty stomach.
Comments: If using longer than 1 month, add mixed amino acids.

Click to see also:->Epilepsy published in BBC NEWS

Many ‘believe myths’ on epilepsy

Epilepsy took away my childhood

Epilepsy genes ‘may cut seizures

Within days she seemed calmer

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs (Reader’s Digest)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

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