Information on Epilepsy from the National Library of Medicine
Seizures occur when nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain signal abnormally. If a person experiences two or more unexplained seizures, they may be diagnosed with epilepsy. During a seizure, a person may experience altered emotions, abnormal bodily sensations, violent muscle spasms, or loss of consciousness. Epilepsy may result from illness, injury, developmental abnormalities, or unknown causes. Due to the potential dangerous consequences, treatment should be started immediately following diagnosis. A doctor will determine if an individual has the disease by utilizing brain scans and other tests. Treatment options include medication, surgery, and dietary modification. More at the National Library of Medicine.
Information on Epilepsy from the Epilepsy Foundation
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It’s also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. Read more at the Epilepsy Foundation.
Information on Adult Epilepsy at Johns Hopkins Medicine Neurology & Neurosurgery
Comprehensive information on Epilepsy at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Epilepsy: Essentials from Consumer Reports
What is it? What are the symptoms? How is it diagnosed? How common is it? What will happen? Questions to ask. Key points about treatments at Consumer Reports.
FAQ - What is Epilepsy
Answers to twelve frequently asked questions at the Center for Disease Control.
Quiz for Kids on Epilepsy
Think you know everything there is to know about epilepsy? Here are ten questions that test your knowledge.
Advice on Back to School
Every parent of a child with epilepsy knows that it’s hard enough to keep their child safe at home, but a whole new set of challenges presents itself when the child goes off to school. Read advice from parents of children with epilepsy at the Epilepsy Foundation.
Video: Watch a Video of Brain Surgery Used to Treat Epilepsy
Approximately 25% of epileptic patients fail to respond adequately to medications. Resective surgery may be an option for these individuals. In this video, watch a narrated surgery being performed at Memorial Hermann Medical Center in Houston, Texas . courtesy of the national Library of medicine.
Podcast: Diagnosing Epilepsy
Dr. Jonathan Edwards, director of the MUSC Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, explains epilepsy as a condition of recurrent unprovoked seizures, which is more likely to start in childhood or among the elderly. Dr. Edwards walks through the diagnosis process and explains the various imaging tools used to analyze the brain, such as an EEG, epilepsy imaging, MRI, CT scans and the use of tomography. Listen to the podcast at MUSC.
Podcast: Medically Speaking…
In this Medically Speaking podcast, Jennifer Hopp, M.D., the director of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, discusses the causes and treatments for epilepsy. And, speaking with Michelle Murray, Dr. Hopp also outlines the different types of seizures and discusses treatment options, including medications, vagus nerve stimulation, and sometimes surgery to help manage the disease. Dr. Hopp is also an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Listen to the podcast at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Risk of suicidality in children using newer antiepileptic drugs
The newer antiepileptic drugs (gabapentin, lamotrigine, oxcarbazepine, tiagabine, topiramate, and vigabatrin) are used to treat children who have not benefited from or are unable to take older antiepileptic drugs (carbamazepine or sodium valproate) for medical reasons. In December of 2008, the U.S. FDA released placebo-controlled clincal trial results linking the use of newer antiepileptic drugs to suidiality in children. View the National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.
Risk of suicidality in adults using newer antiepileptic drugs
The newer antiepileptic drugs (gabapentin, lamotrigine, oxcarbazepine, tiagabine, topiramate, and vigabatrin) are used to treat adults who have not benefited from or are unable to take older antiepileptic drugs (carbamazepine or sodium valproate) for medical reasons. In December of 2008, the U.S. FDA released placebo-controlled clincal trial results linking the use of newer antiepileptic drugs to suidiality in adults. View the National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.
Appropriate use of Imaging Techniques in Epilepsy Diagnosis
The use of appropriate of imaging techniques (PET, fMRI, SPECT, MSI) to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy is beneficial to the patient. Accurate classification of the seizure type is essential in the decision to use a particular imaging technique. View the National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.
Diagnosis and Management of Epilepsy in Adults.
Epilepsy is diagnosed by a neurologist or epileptologist using patient and eye witness accounts of seizure activity in combination with brain imaging techniques. Treatment options include medication and surgery. View the National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.
Diagnosis and Management of Epilepsy in Children.
Epilepsy in children should be diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist or pediatrician specializing in epilepsy. Diagnosis and management of epilepsy in children requires special considerations. View the National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.
Practical Parameters in Resective Surgery Used to Treat Epilepsy
A panel of doctors from the The American Epilepsy Society, American Academy of Neurology, and The American Association of Neurological Surgeons established practical parameters for elective use of resective surgery to treat epilepsy. The severity and frequency of seizures, as well as a lack of responsiveness to medication, were criteria included in the study. View the National Guideline Clearinghouse major recommendations.
Abstract: Sodium and potassium imbalances in the brain confirmed as causes of epileptic seizures
Abstract: An imbalance in sodium and potassium levels has long been suspected to contribute to epileptic seizures. In this study, researchers identified a mutation in a gene that regulates sodium and potassium levels in mouse nerve cells. These mice exhibited spontaneous seizures and displayed characteristic epileptic brain activity. Returning a 'normal' copy of this gene to the mice prevented seizures from occurring. View the abstract in Pubmed.
Abstract: Vagus Nerve Stimulation - Current Technology and Use
Vagus nerve stimulation is the most common nonpharmacological epilepsy treatment. A small generator placed in the chest wall is attached to electronic leads, which are connected to the vagus nerve in the brain. Electrical current is applied intermittently. While on this therapy, 50-75% of patients report less frequent seizures. View the abstract at Pubmed.
Abstract: Different Forms of Epilepsy May be Linked; New Anticonvulsant Therapeutic Target Identified
BK ion channels have long been associated with rare familial inherited forms of epilepsy. This study finds that BK channels are hyperactive in the brains of patients suffering from generalized seizures without genetic predisposition. The findings underscore that different forms of epilepsy may be related and point to a new drug target, the BK ion channel, in anti-convulsant therapy for sporadic epilepsy. View the abstract at Pubmed.
Abstract: Link Between the Duration of REM Sleep and Frequency of Seizures
Seizures decrease the duration of REM sleep. Decreased duration of this sleep stage increases the frequency of seizures. Therapies aimed at increasing the amount of time spent in REM sleep, such as thalidomide, may reduce frequency of epileptic seizures. View the abstract at Pubmed
Abstract: Reports of the Prevalence and Incidence of Epilepsy Vary Widely.
Millions of people around the world suffer from epilepsy. The reported incidence and prevalence of epilepsy differs from one study to another. A careful assessment of the cultural, social, and economic factors that influence epilepsy diagnosis and care is discussed in this review. See the abstract at Pubmed.
Abstract: Managing Epilepsy in the Elderly
The diagnosis of epilepsy in elderly patients following different criteria than those used in younger patients. Furthermore, the metabolism and side effects of common epilepsy medications differ in older patients. View the abstract at Pubmed.
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