Tag Archives: Epileptic seizure

Ilex vomitoria

Botanical Name : Ilex vomitoria
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
Species: I. vomitoria
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Aquifoliales

Common Names: Yaupon or Yaupon holl (The word yaupon was derived from its Catawban name, yopún, which is a diminutive form of the word yop, meaning “tree”. )

The ceremony included vomiting, and Europeans incorrectly believed that it was Ilex vomitoria that caused it (hence the Latin name). The active ingredients, like those of the related yerba mate and guayusa plants, are actually caffeine and theobromine, and the vomiting either was learned or resulted from the great quantities in which they drank the beverage coupled with fasting. Others believe the Europeans improperly assumed the black drink to be the tea made from Ilex vomitoria when it was likely an entirely different drink made from various roots and herbs and did have emetic properties.

Habitat : Ilex vomitoria is native to North America from Maryland south to Florida and west to Oklahoma and Texas. A disjunct population occurs in the Mexican state of Chiapas. It generally occurs in coastal areas in well-drained sandy soils, and can be found on the upper edges of brackish and salt marshes, sandy hammocks, coastal sand dunes, inner-dune depressions, sandhills, maritime forests, nontidal forested wetlands, well-drained forests and pine flatwoods.

Description:
Yaupon holly is an evergreen shrub or small tree reaching 5–9 meters tall, with smooth, light gray bark and slender, hairy shoots. The leaves are alternate, ovate to elliptical with a rounded apex and crenate or coarsely serrated margin, 1-4.5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, glossy dark green above, slightly paler below. The flowers are 5–5.5 mm diameter, with a white four-lobed corolla. The fruit is a small round, shiny, and red (occasionally yellow) drupe 4–6 mm diameter containing four pits, which are dispersed by birds eating the fruit. The species may be distinguished from the similar Ilex cassine by its smaller leaves with a rounded, not acute apex.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils so long as they are not water-logged. This species is not fully hardy in Britain, the plants are incapable of withstanding our hardest winters. A slow-growing species in the wild, often forming dense thickets from root suckers. The leaves remain on the plant for 2 – 3 years, falling just before the appearance of new leaves in the spring. Flowers are produced on the current year’s growth. Resents root disturbance, especially as the plants get older. It is best to place the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, perhaps giving some winter protection for their first year or two. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It can take 18 months to germinate. Stored seed generally requires two winters and a summer before it will germinate and should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. Scarification, followed by a warm stratification and then a cold stratification may speed up the germination time[78, 80]. The seedlings are rather slow-growing. Pot them up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame for their first year. It is possible to plant them out into a nursery bed in late spring of the following year, but they should not be left here for more than two years since they do not like being transplanted. Alternatively, grow them on in their pots for a second season and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Give them a good mulch and some protection for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of almost ripe wood with a heel, August in a shaded position in a cold frame. Leave for 12 months before potting up. Layering in October. Takes 2 years
Edible Uses: Native Americans used the leaves and stems to brew a tea, commonly thought to be called asi or black drink for male-only purification and unity rituals.

A mildly stimulating beverage containing caffeine is made from the dried and roasted leaves. The tea is stimulating and intoxicating. The leaves are first steeped in cold and then in boiling water. They are also used to flavour ice cream and soft drinks.

In 2013 a company in Cat Spring, Texas began selling yaupon tea online for people interested in the local food movement. Other companies have opened in Florida and Georgia

Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the leaves is emetic. The plant was used ritually by several N. American Indian tribes. The leaves were toasted over a fire and then boiled for several hours. The resulting thick black liquid was then drunk and this was followed by immediate vomiting. This was often used a a purification rite prior to hunting.

Other Uses: Ornamental
Ilex vomitoria is a common landscape plant in the Southeastern United States. The most common cultivars are slow-growing shrubs popular for their dense, evergreen foliage and their adaptability to pruning into hedges of various shapes. These include:

* ‘Folsom Weeping’ — weeping cultivar
* ‘Grey’s Littleleaf’/’Grey’s Weeping’ — weeping cultivar
* ‘Nana’/’Compacta’ — dwarf female clone usually remaining below 1 m in height.
* ‘Pride of Houston’ — female clone similar to type but featuring improvements in form, fruiting, and foliage.
* ‘Schilling’s Dwarf’/’Stokes Dwarf’ — dwarf male clone that grows no more than 0.6 m tall and 1.2 m wide.
* ‘Will Flemming’ — male clone featuring a columnar growth habit.

This species is occasionally used for hedging in the southern states of America. Wood – hard, heavy, strong, close grained. It weighs 46lb per cubic foot. Too small for commercial exploitation, the wood is used locally for turnery, inlay work, woodenware etc.

Known Hazards:
Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity. The fruit is poisonous.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilex_vomitoria
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ilex+vomitoria

Myoclonus

Definition:
Myoclonus refers to a sudden, involuntary jerking of a muscle or group of muscles. In its simplest form, myoclonus consists of a muscle twitch followed by relaxation. A hiccup is an example of this type of myoclonus. Other familiar examples of myoclonus are the jerks or “sleep starts” that some people experience while drifting off to sleep.  These simple forms of myoclonus occur in normal, healthy persons and cause no difficulties. When more widespread, myoclonus may involve persistent, shock-like contractions in a group of muscles.  Myoclonic jerking may develop in people with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Myoclonic jerks commonly occur in persons with epilepsy, a disorder in which the electrical activity in the brain becomes disordered and leads to seizures.  Myoclonus may develop in response to infection, head or spinal cord injury, stroke, brain tumors, kidney or liver failure, lipid storage disease, chemical or drug poisoning, or other disorders.  It can occur by itself, but most often it is one of several symptoms  associated with a wide variety of nervous system disorders.

 CLICK & SEE

Myoclonic jerks may occur alone or in sequence, in a pattern or without pattern. They may occur infrequently or many times each minute. Most often, myoclonus is one of several signs in a wide variety of nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), serotonin toxicity, and some forms of epilepsy. Some researchers indicate that jerks persistently may even cause early tremors.

In almost all instances in which myoclonus is caused by central nervous system disease it is preceded by other symptoms; for instance, in CJD it is generally a late-stage clinical feature that appears after the patient has already started to exhibit gross neurological deficits.

Anatomically, myoclonus may originate from lesions of the cortex, subcortex or spinal cord. The presence of myoclonus above the foramen magnum effectively excludes spinal myoclonus, but further localisation relies on further investigation with electromyography (EMG) and electroencephalography (EEG).

Types:
In juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, seizures usually involve the neck, shoulders, and upper arms. These seizures typically occur shortly after waking up. They normally begin between puberty and early adulthood. They can usually be controlled with medication, but it must be taken for life.

In rare cases, myoclonic seizures can be symptomatic of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, beginning in early childhood and usually involving the face, neck, shoulders, and upper arms. In these cases, the seizures tend to be strong and difficult to control.

Progressive myoclonic epilepsy includes both myoclonic and tonic-clonic seizures. Treatment is not normally successful for any extended period of time.

Classifying the many different forms of myoclonus is difficult because the causes, effects, and responses to therapy vary widely. Listed below are the types most commonly described:

*Action myoclonus is characterized by muscular jerking triggered or intensified by voluntary movement or even the intention to move. It may be made worse by attempts at precise, coordinated movements. Action myoclonus is the most disabling form of myoclonus and can affect the arms, legs, face, and even the voice. This type of myoclonus often is caused by brain damage that results from a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain when breathing or heartbeat is temporarily stopped.

*Cortical reflex myoclonus is thought to be a type of epilepsy that originates in the cerebral cortex – the outer layer, or “gray matter,” of the brain, responsible for much of the information processing that takes place in the brain. In this type of myoclonus, jerks usually involve only a few muscles in one part of the body, but jerks involving many muscles also may occur. Cortical reflex myoclonus can be intensified when patients attempt to move in a certain way or perceive a particular sensation.

*Essential myoclonus occurs in the absence of epilepsy or other apparent abnormalities in the brain or nerves. It can occur randomly in people with no family history, but it also can appear among members of the same family, indicating that it sometimes may be an inherited disorder. Essential myoclonus tends to be stable without increasing in severity over time. Some scientists speculate that some forms of essential myoclonus may be a type of epilepsy with no known cause.

*Palatal myoclonus is a regular, rhythmic contraction of one or both sides of the rear of the roof of the mouth, called the soft palate. These contractions may be accompanied by myoclonus in other muscles, including those in the face, tongue, throat, and diaphragm. The contractions are very rapid, occurring as often as 150 times a minute, and may persist during sleep. The condition usually appears in adults and can last indefinitely. People with palatal myoclonus usually regard it as a minor problem, although some occasionally complain of a “clicking” sound in the ear, a noise made as the muscles in the soft palate contract.

*Progressive myoclonus epilepsy (PME) is a group of diseases characterized by myoclonus, epileptic seizures, and other serious symptoms such as trouble walking or speaking. These rare disorders often get worse over time and sometimes are fatal. Studies have identified at least three forms of PME. Lafora disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive disorder, meaning that the disease occurs only when a child inherits two copies of a defective gene, one from each parent. Lafora disease is characterized by myoclonus, epileptic seizures, and dementia (progressive loss of memory and other intellectual functions). A second group of PME diseases belonging to the class of cerebral storage diseases usually involves myoclonus, visual problems, dementia, and dystonia (sustained muscle contractions that cause twisting movements or abnormal postures). Another group of PME disorders in the class of system degenerations often is accompanied by action myoclonus, seizures, and problems with balance and walking. Many of these PME diseases begin in childhood or adolescence.

*Reticular reflex myoclonus is thought to be a type of generalized epilepsy that originates in the brainstem, the part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord and controls vital functions such as breathing and heartbeat. Myoclonic jerks usually affect the whole body, with muscles on both sides of the body affected simultaneously. In some people, myoclonic jerks occur in only a part of the body, such as the legs, with all the muscles in that part being involved in each jerk. Reticular reflex myoclonus can be triggered by either a voluntary movement or an external stimulus.

*Spinal myoclonus is myoclonus originating in the spinal cord, including segmental and propriospinal myoclonus. The latter is usually due to a thoracic generator producing truncal flexion jerk. It is often stimulus-induced with a delay due to the slow conducting propriospinal nerve fibers.

*Stimulus-sensitive myoclonus is triggered by a variety of external events, including noise, movement, and light. Surprise may increase the sensitivity of the patient.

*Sleep myoclonus occurs during the initial phases of sleep, especially at the moment of dropping off to sleep. Some forms appear to be stimulus-sensitive. Some persons with sleep myoclonus are rarely troubled by, or need treatment for, the condition. However, myoclonus may be a symptom in more complex and disturbing sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome, and may require treatment by a doctor.

Symptoms:
Myoclonic seizures can be described as “jumps.” They are caused by rapid contraction and relaxation of the muscles. People without epilepsy can suffer small but similar jerks in the form of hiccups or brief twitches. These are perfectly normal.

In someone with epilepsy, myoclonic seizures cause abnormal movements on both sides of the body at the same time. In reflex epilepsies, myoclonic seizures can be brought on by flashing lights or other environmental triggers (see photosensitive epilepsy).

Familiar examples of normal myoclonus include hiccups and hypnic jerks that some people experience while drifting off to sleep. Severe cases of pathologic myoclonus can distort movement and severely limit a person’s ability to sleep, eat, talk, and walk. Myoclonic jerks commonly occur in individuals with epilepsy. The most common types of myoclonus include action, cortical reflex, essential, palatal, progressive myoclonus epilepsy, reticular reflex, sleep, and stimulus-sensitive.

People with myoclonus often describe the symptoms as “jerks,” shakes” or “spasms” that are:

*Sudden
*Brief
*Involuntary
*Shock-like
*Variable in intensity and frequency
*Localized to one part of the body or all over the body
*Sometimes severe enough to interfere with eating, talking or walking

Causes:
Myoclonus may be caused by a variety of underlying problems. Doctors often separate the types of myoclonus based on their causes, which helps determine treatment. Types of myoclonus include the following categories.

Physiological myoclonus

This is the type that occurs in normal, healthy people and rarely needs treatment. Examples include:
*Hiccups
*Sleep starts
*Infant muscle twitching during sleep or after a feeding

Essential myoclonus
Essential myoclonus occurs on its own, typically without other symptoms and without being related to any underlying illness. The cause of essential myoclonus is often unexplained (idiopathic) or, in some cases, hereditary.

Epileptic myoclonus
This type of myoclonus occurs as part of an epileptic disorder. Muscle jerks may be the only symptom or one of many.

Symptomatic (secondary) myoclonus

This is a common form of myoclonus. Muscle jerks occur as a result of an underlying medical problem, such as:
*Head or spinal cord injury or infection
*Stroke
*Brain tumor
*Kidney or liver failure
*Chemical or drug poisoning
*Prolonged oxygen deprivation
*Medication reaction
*Huntington’s disease
*Alzheimer’s disease
*Parkinson’s disease
*Metabolic problems

Treatment:
Discontinuation of drugs suspected of causing myoclonus and treatment of metabolic derangements may resolve some cases of myoclonus.  When pharmacological treatment is indicated anticonvulsants are the main line of treatment. Paradoxical reactions to treatment are notable. Drugs which most people respond to may in other individuals worsen their symptoms. Sometimes this leads to the mistake of increasing the dose, rather than decreasing or stopping the drug.  Treatment of myoclonus focuses on medications that may help reduce symptoms. Drugs used include sodium valproate, clonazepam and some other anticonvulsants such as piracetam and levetiracetam.  Dosages of clonazepam usually are increased gradually until the patient improves or side effects become harmful. Drowsiness and loss of coordination are common side effects. The beneficial effects of clonazepam may diminish over time if the patient develops a tolerance to the drug.

Many of the drugs used for myoclonus, such as barbiturates, phenytoin and primidone, are also used to treat epilepsy. Barbiturates slow down the central nervous system and cause tranquilizing or antiseizure effects. Phenytoin and primidone are effective antiepileptics drugs, although phenytoin can cause liver failure or have other harmful long-term effects in patients with PME. Sodium valproate is an alternative therapy for myoclonus and can be used either alone or in combination with clonazepam. Although clonazepam and/or sodium valproate are effective in the majority of patients with myoclonus, some people have adverse reactions to these drugs.

Some studies have shown that doses of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) leads to improvement in patients with some types of action myoclonus and PME. These differences in the effect of 5-HTP on patients with myoclonus have not yet been explained, but they may offer important clues to underlying abnormalities in serotonin receptors.

The complex origins of myoclonus may require the use of multiple drugs for effective treatment. Although some drugs have a limited effect when used individually, they may have a greater effect when used with drugs that act on different pathways or mechanisms in the brain. By combining several of these drugs, scientists hope to achieve greater control of myoclonic symptoms. Some drugs currently being studied in different combinations include clonazepam, sodium valproate, piracetam, and primidone. Hormonal therapy also may improve responses to antimyoclonic drugs in some people.
Prognosis:
Although myoclonus is not a life-threatening condition, it may result in serious, debilitating impairments. Action myoclonus, with its positive and negative myoclonus components, is generally considered the most serious. It varies from person to person as to whether it is life-long.

Research:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts research relating to myoclonus in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also supports additional research through grants to major medical institutions across the country. Scientists are seeking to understand the underlying biochemical basis of involuntary movements and to find the most effective treatment for myoclonus and other movement disorders. Researchers may be able to develop drug treatments that target specific biochemical changes involved in myoclonus. By combining several of these drugs, scientists hope to achieve greater control of myoclonic symptoms.

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.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/myoclonus/myoclonus.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/myoclonus/DS00754
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myoclonus

Sleep Myoclonus

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/palatal-myoclonus.html

Enhanced by Zemanta

Treatment of Fit


The child stared into space grimacing at bystanders. “Stop it,” said the mother, embarrassed by the responses her actions evoked. But the child ignored her, then blinked and followed her obediently. Nobody realised that the little girl had just suffered a fit of atypical epileptic seizure.

You may click & read this
In classical epilepsy, typically, there is a cry followed by rolling up of the eyes and uncontrolled repetitive thrashing of the arms and legs. It usually lasts a few minutes after which the person falls to the ground. There may be no recollection of the event later.

To the untutored bystander, it may appear that the person has lost control of his or her body and been possessed by some “demonic force”. This is why the illness is called epilepsy, from the Greek word “seized”. But epilepsy actually occurs because of sudden unregulated rapid electrical discharges in the brain. It has nothing to do with demons, and exorcism will not help.

All seizures are not the same. Only one half the body, or even just a part — like the arms or face — may be affected. The rapid movements may resemble an uncontrolled tic or twitch. A sudden temporary interruption in the electrical pathways may affect consciousness, awareness, movements or bodily posture. This can result in unfocused staring (absence attacks), or “feelings” of jamais vu (unreality) or déjà vu (familiarity), or disturbances in vision, hearing and balance. In children, the seizures may be even more atypical. The child may just stare inattentively and blankly for a few minutes, suddenly fall forward, or start nodding.

About 2 per cent of adults have a seizure at some time in their life. Often, it is a one-off occurrence. Children are more prone to seizures, particularly when the temperature rises. Such “febrile seizures” occur during an episode of fever, in 3 to 4 per cent of otherwise normal children from the age of nine months to five years. This may recur three or four times during subsequent episodes of fever.

A person is labelled as suffering from a seizure disorder or is an “epileptic” if there have been two or more episodes in the preceding six months, without an obvious precipitating cause. Seizures can occur if:

There is a genetic predisposition (around 30 per cent of epileptics have a close relative with seizures)

The brain structure is abnormal, producing alterations in the electrical pathway. These may be developmental or acquired as a result of trauma or surgery

The person has infections of the brain like encephalitis, meningitis or abscess

There are brain tumours

There is excessive alcohol consumption or sudden withdrawal

The person uses illegal recreational drugs

There are biochemical abnormalities like low blood sugars and other metabolic or electrolyte imbalances

There are disturbances in the blood supply to the brain.

The condition may also be precipitated by physical factors such as flickering lights, sleep deprivation or music.

Seizures are investigated with blood tests, electroencephalogram (EEG), computed tomography (CT) scan and / or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Seizure disorders require regular treatment with medications. These have negligible side effects and most can be taken safely during pregnancy as well. With the patient’s compliance, and correct and adequate medication, seizures are well controlled in 75 per cent of sufferers.

After regular treatment for three to five years, the medications are usually tapered off under supervision. Medication should never be abruptly discontinued or doses missed.

People with seizures can lead normal lives. Their academic performance need not suffer if the disease is managed well. However, driving, operating heavy machinery or working in areas with loud music or flickering lights should be avoided.

In women with epilepsy, fluctuating levels of natural hormones during the course of a normal menstrual cycle can cause an increase in the incidence and frequency of epileptic attacks premenstrually. Fertility is not affected by seizures.

Seizure medications (with the exception of sodium valporate) reduce the efficacy of oral contraceptives. Women with epilepsy who wish to practise contraception need a combination pill containing at least 50 mg of oestrogen. But instead of these higher dose pills, barrier contraception — such as condoms and diaphragms, or an IUCD (intra uterine contraceptive device like copper T) — may be a better option.

During pregnancy, good seizure control should be achieved for the safety of both the baby and mother. The overall risk of birth defects in epileptic women is around 7 per cent as against 3 per cent in the general population. If a woman is planning to become pregnant, she should immediately start folic acid supplements (5mg a day). Folic acid has a protective effect on the baby’s brain and spinal cord development in the first 40 days after conception.

Epilepsy is not a contraindication to breast-feeding, although small amounts of medication do cross over to breast milk. Epileptics can lead normal and productive lives if the condition is adequately controlled with proper medication.

Source:This article is written by Gita Mathai & published in the Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Enhanced by Zemanta