Posts Tagged Epilepsy

[WEB SITE] Rates of Pregnancy, Live Births Similar Among Women With and Without Epilepsy

Sexual activity and rates of ovulation were also similar among women with epilepsy and those without the disorder.

Sexual activity and rates of ovulation were also similar among women with epilepsy and those without the disorder.

Women with epilepsy who are seeking to become pregnant and have no known infertility or related disorders have a similar probability of achieving pregnancy, time to pregnancy, and live birth rates as do women without epilepsy, according to the results of the observational Women With Epilepsy Pregnancy Outcomes and Deliveries prospective cohort study ( identifier: NCT01259310), which was published in JAMA Neurology.

The investigators sought to examine whether women with epilepsy with no prior diagnosis of infertility or a related disorder were as likely to become pregnant within 12 months as their peers without epilepsy. A cohort of women with epilepsy and healthy controls who were seeking pregnancy were enrolled at 4 academic medical centers in the United States and were followed for up to 21 months. Participants between 18 and 40 years of age who were seeking pregnancy were enrolled within 6 months of having discontinued contraception. Data were evaluated from November 2015 to June 2017.

The primary study outcome was the proportion of women who attained pregnancy within 12 months after enrollment. Secondary outcomes included time to pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, sexual activity, rates of ovulation, and analysis of disease-related factors in women with epilepsy.

A total of 197 women were included in the study — 89 with epilepsy and 108 controls. Overall, 72.1% of the participants were white. The mean age of the women was 31.9±3.5 years in those with epilepsy and 31.1±4.2 years in the controls. Among the women with epilepsy, 60.7% (54 of 89) achieved pregnancy compared with 60.2% (65 of 108) of those without epilepsy. The median time to attaining pregnancy did not differ significantly between the groups (women with epilepsy: 6.0 months; 95% CI, 3.8-10.1; controls: 9.0 months; 95% CI, 6.5-11.2; =.30).

Sexual activity and rates of ovulation were also similar among women with epilepsy and those without the disorder. Overall, 81.5% (44 of 54) of pregnancies in women with epilepsy and 81.5% (53 of 65) of pregnancies in women without epilepsy resulted in live births.

The investigators concluded that the results of this study should help reassure and encourage women with epilepsy without a prior diagnosis of infertility or an associated disorder, as well as their clinicians, when planning to become pregnant, based on the similar times to achieving pregnancy and similar pregnancy outcomes reported.


Pennell PB, French JA, Harden CL, et al. Fertility and birth outcomes in women with epilepsy seeking pregnancy [published online April 30, 2018]. JAMA Neurol. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.0646

via Rates of Pregnancy, Live Births Similar Among Women With and Without Epilepsy


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[WEB SITE] List of Seizures (Convulsions) Medications (60 Compared) –

Medications for Seizures (Convulsions)

Other names: Absence Seizure; Complex Partial Seizure; Fits

About Seizures:  A seizure or convulsion can be a sudden, violent, uncontrollable contraction of a group of muscles. A seizure can also be more subtle, consisting of only a brief “loss of contact” or a few moments of what appears to be daydreaming.


Drugs Used to Treat Seizures

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.[…]

For the list of medications, Visit Site —> List of Seizures (Convulsions) Medications (60 Compared) –

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[Study] Incidence, Risk Factors and Consequences of Epilepsy-Related Injuries and Accidents: A Retrospective, Single Center Study – Full Text

Introduction: This study was designed to evaluate risk factors and incidence of epilepsy-related injuries and accidents (ERIA) at an outpatient clinic of a German epilepsy center providing healthcare to a mixed urban and rural population of over one million inhabitants.

Methods: Data acquisition was performed between 10/2013 and 09/2014 using a validated patient questionnaire on socioeconomic status, course of epilepsy, quality of life (QoL), depression, injuries and accidents associated with seizures or inadequate periictal patterns of behavior concerning a period of 3 months. Univariate analysis, multiple testing and regression analysis were performed to identify possible variables associated with ERIA.

Results: A total of 292 patients (mean age 40.8 years, range 18–86; 55% female) were enrolled and analyzed. Focal epilepsy was diagnosed in 75% of the patients. The majority was on an antiepileptic drug (AEDs) polytherapy (mean number of AEDs: 1.65). Overall, 41 patients (14.0%) suffered from epilepsy-related injuries and accidents in a 3-month period. Besides lacerations (n = 18, 6.2%), abrasions and bruises (n = 9, 3.1%), fractures (n = 6, 2.2%) and burns (n = 3, 1.0%), 17 mild injuries (5.8%) were reported. In 20 (6.8% of the total cohort) cases, urgent medical treatment with hospitalization was necessary. Epilepsy-related injuries and accidents were related to active epilepsy, occurrence of generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) and drug-refractory course as well as reported ictal falls, ictal loss of consciousness and abnormal peri-ictal behavior in the medical history. In addition, patients with ERIA had significantly higher depression rates and lower QoL.

Conclusion: ERIA and their consequences should be given more attention and standardized assessment for ERIA should be performed in every outpatient visit.


Epilepsy is a common and chronic neurological disorder that affects about 39 million people worldwide (12). People with epilepsy are subject to social and vocational stigma, have only restricted access to the labor market and significantly reduced employment opportunities (3). Moreover, quality of life (QoL) is significantly reduced for themselves and their caregivers (49). Active epilepsy with persisting seizures is associated with loss of consciousness, uncontrolled movements, falls or periictal abnormal behavior may predispose to accidents and injuries such as burns, contusions, lacerations or fractures (1012).

A prospective longitudinal analysis from Finland on 245 children with epilepsy since 1964 showed a significantly increased age- and sex-adjusted mortality. During the 40-year follow up, 60 (24%) subjects died and 33 (55%) of these events were attributed to the underlying epilepsy. Besides sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) and status epilepticus, epilepsy-related injuries and accidents (ERIA), such as peri-ictal drowning, were common causes of death. Within this cohort, pneumonia, cardiovascular diseases and suicide have been reported as most frequent causes of death not related to seizures or epilepsy (1315). ERIA were shown to be a major cost factor for hospitalizations among patients with epilepsy (16). One major problem with ERIA is unreported cases in daily practice. If not investigated in detail, it can be assumed that approximately 50% of ERIA are falsely not documented as seizure-related in medical documentation (17).

The main aim of our study was to assess the frequency and types of ERIA in a cohort of consecutive patients with epilepsy using a validated questionnaire (18) and to search for variables associated with ERIA. Improved screening parameters for ERIA may help in reducing the frequency and severity of ERIA. A second aim was to assess QoL and depression as possible consequences of ERIA.[…]


Continue —>  Frontiers | Incidence, Risk Factors and Consequences of Epilepsy-Related Injuries and Accidents: A Retrospective, Single Center Study | Neurology

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[NEWS] New epilepsy target discovered – European Biotechnology

French researchers have found a key driver of chronic epilepsy.

As 30% of patients with epilepsy do not respond to current antiepileptic drugs, finding targets that help suppress the initiation and propagation of seizures in the brain is crucial. Epilepsies are characterized by recurrent seizures, which disrupt normal brain function. Alterations in neuronal excitability and excitation-inhibition balance have been shown to promote seizure generation, yet molecular determinants of such alterations remain to be identified. Results of Elena Dossi and colleagues from INSERM Paris now suggest that inhibiting pannexin channels with drugs already approved for the treatment of gout and malaria could serve as a new therapeutic strategy for non responders to standard therapies.

Pannexin channels are nonselective, large-pore channels mediating extracellular exchange of neuroactive molecules. Recent data suggest that these channels are activated under pathological conditions and regulate neuronal excitability, i.e. in stroke. However, whether pannexin channels sustain or counteract chronic epilepsy in human patients was unknown.

Using brain tissue samples from patients with epilepsy undergoing surgical resection and a mouse model of epilepsy the French researchers showed that the membrane channel pannexin-1 contributes to seizure activity. They analyzed 42 postoperative brain tissue samples obtained from surgical resection of epileptogenic zones in patients suffering from lesional or drug-resistant epilepsy and found that pannexin-1 channels contributed to epileptic activity in the samples. Pannexin-1 channel activation promoted seizure generation and maintenance through adenosine triphosphate signaling via purinergic 2 receptors. Pharmacological inhibition of pannexin-1 channels with probenecid or mefloquine—two medications currently used for treating gout and malaria, respectively—blocked ictal discharges in human cortical brain tissue slices. Furthermore, mice lacking the gene that encodes for pannexin-1 channels were less prone to seizures when exposed to the pro-epileptic compound kainic acid compared to control animals.


via New epilepsy target discovered – European Biotechnology

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[Abstract] Big data sharing and analysis to advance research in post-traumatic epilepsy – Review


  • We have created the infrastructure for a centralized data repository for multi-modal data.
  • Innovative image and electrophysiology processing methods have been applied.
  • Novel analytic tools are described to study epileptogenesis after traumatic brain injury.


We describe the infrastructure and functionality for a centralized preclinical and clinical data repository and analytic platform to support importing heterogeneous multi-modal data, automatically and manually linking data across modalities and sites, and searching content. We have developed and applied innovative image and electrophysiology processing methods to identify candidate biomarkers from MRI, EEG, and multi-modal data. Based on heterogeneous biomarkers, we present novel analytic tools designed to study epileptogenesis in animal model and human with the goal of tracking the probability of developing epilepsy over time.


via Big data sharing and analysis to advance research in post-traumatic epilepsy

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[ARTICLE] Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Seizures in Patients With Epilepsy – Full Text

Purpose: This study aimed to assess alcohol consumption and the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures in patients with epilepsy within the last 12 months.

Methods: In an epilepsy outpatient clinic, a standardized questionnaire was used to collect data retrospectively from consecutive adult epilepsy patients who had been suffering from the disease for at least 1 year. Logistic regression analyses were performed to identify independent predictors.

Results: A total of 310 patients with epilepsy were included. Of these, 204 subjects (65.8%) consumed alcohol within the last 12 months. Independent predictors for alcohol use were antiepileptic drug monotherapy (OR 1.901) and physicians’ advice that a light alcohol intake is harmless (OR 4.102). Seizure worsening related to alcohol consumption was reported by 37 of the 204 patients (18.1%) who had used alcohol. All 37 subjects had consumed large quantities of alcohol prior to the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures regardless of their usual alcohol-drinking behavior. The amount of alcohol intake prior to alcohol-related seizures was at least 7 standard drinks, which is equivalent to 1.4 L of beer or 0.7 L of wine. In 95% of cases, alcohol-related seizures occurred within 12 h after cessation of alcohol intake. Independent predictors for alcohol-related seizures were generalized genetic epilepsy (OR 5.792) and chronic heavier alcohol use (OR 8.955).

Conclusions: Two-thirds of interviewed subjects had consumed alcohol within the last 12 months. This finding may be an underestimate due to patients’ self-reporting and recall error. In all cases, the occurrence of alcohol related-seizures was associated with timely consumption of considerably large amounts of alcohol. Thus, a responsible alcohol intake seems to be safe for most patients with epilepsy. However, subjects with epilepsy and especially those with generalized genetic epilepsy should be made aware of an increased risk for seizures related to heavy alcohol consumption. Factors accompanying acute heavy alcohol intake such as altered sleep architecture, impaired adherence to antiepileptic medication, and metabolic disturbances may further facilitate the occurrence of seizures.


Alcohol consumption may trigger seizures in patients with epilepsy. Yet, there is currently little knowledge on the alcohol-drinking behavior of epilepsy patients. In the 1940s, William G. Lennox comprehensively analyzed alcohol consumption and the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures in 1,254 subjects with epilepsy (1). However, only about 30% of patients used alcohol, thus excluding 70% from any analysis of potential alcohol-related effects on the disease. The occurrence of alcohol-related seizures was reported by 21.1% of subjects who had used alcohol, and was more often stated by patients with symptomatic than with idiopathic or cryptogenic epilepsy (as classified at that time). Apart from this, there is little research on the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures in patients with epilepsy. A double-blinded, randomized, interventional study on 52 subjects with epilepsy demonstrated that a social alcohol intake over a 4-month-period did not increase seizure frequencies (2). In another interventional study on 14 patients with epilepsy and 10 healthy controls, acute moderate alcohol consumption initially suppressed epileptiform EEG-activity. Later however, when alcohol blood levels had declined, epileptiform EEG-activity was increased. Seizures occurred in some of those subjects and a rebound phenomenon was discussed (3).

Human and animal data have shown that acute alcohol intake has a biphasic effect on the central nervous system (CNS). Initially, the inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic effect of alcohol exerts CNS depressant and anticonvulsant properties (45). In the post-alcohol state, however, when alcohol blood levels decline, neuronal excitability is increased which may facilitate the occurrence of seizures in patients with epilepsy (67).

The use of alcohol is very common in western societies (8). In Germany, 89% of all adults had consumed alcohol within the last 12 months (9). This makes it necessary for neurologists and other physicians to advise patients with epilepsy adequately on how to handle alcohol consumption with their chronic disease. The relationship between alcohol and epileptic seizures is complex. Research has mainly focused on the prevalence and pathophysiology of acute symptomatic seizures in the context of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome in alcohol-dependent subjects (1012) and on the risk to develop epilepsy due to regular alcohol consumption (1314). However, there are only a few studies that have examined the patterns of alcohol drinking in subjects with a known history of epilepsy, and these are limited by outdated results or small sample sizes. In particular, data on seizure worsening associated with alcohol consumption in patients with epilepsy are very sparse. Therefore, we aimed (a) to systematically analyze the alcohol-drinking behavior of patients with epilepsy and (b) to identify independent predictors for alcohol use and the occurrence of alcohol-related seizures.[…]


Continue —>  Frontiers | Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Seizures in Patients With Epilepsy | Neurology

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[WEB SITE] Living with epilepsy

Life can be happy and meaning ful for those with epilepsy once they manage their condition. Picture created by Freestockcenter –

With medication and by practising a healthier lifestyle, epilepsy patients can lead normal lives.

MOST of us go through life never having to face any major health issues.We grow up, graduate, get a job and prepare to start a new chapter in our lives. Like so many others, Christina too was on that happy path. But in 2009, when she was just 29, her life took a very different and unexpected turn.Despite having been healthy her whole life, she suddenly had an epileptic seizure at work.

“At that time, I was facing elevated challenges at work and the increase in stress levels coincided with the onset of my attack. I had never faced such an episode before,” says Christina.

Unfortunately, once epilepsy is triggered, the condition can’t be reverted. Initially, Christina was in denial, believing that the attacks wouldn’t happen again. But the next one came and it was worse than the last. This time, an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital. There, it was discovered that she had a left hippocampal sclerosis — scarring in the brain — which was the cause of her epilepsy.

But her difficult journey was just about to get tougher.After being diagnosed, Christina was referred to a hospital, where there weren’t any neurologists to recommend the best course of treatment.

“I was passed from doctor to doctor, and for quite some time, I found that getting the right help was tough.”

At that time, as part of her teaching requirement, Christina, a lecturer, was transferred to another branch. The change was challenging.On top of coming to terms with her diagnosis, doctors did not allow her to drive, and she struggled with the loss of independence and having to adapt to a new environment.

However, after time, the change became a blessing. At the new place, the staff were amazing and the students were very caring and Christina felt like she was part of a family.

Her attacks also became less frequent and milder. This made her realise the importance of a support system and an understanding community for people with epilepsy.

“When I am surrounded by positivity, I too become positive and that helps me face my challenges.”

It was also during this time that she met someone who led her down the right path in managing her epilepsy.

“I had one particularly bad attack during a training session at work, and a gentleman whom I had never met before approached me afterwards. He told me that he too used to experience epileptic seizures and he passed me details of a neurologist.”

The neurologist helped Christina to learn how to manage her condition, both physically and emotionally.It was a turning point for her. Not only was she finally referred to someone who could provide her with adequate treatment, but Christina also started to recognise that there were many others in a similar situation and they too had to make many sacrifices in managing their condition.

Of course, she had already read up on epilepsy and knew that it affected many people but meeting another person with the same condition had a great impact on her. Meeting that gentleman who had successfully faced his condition gave her hope that she could too.These days, when she does have an attack, it’s usually rather mild. She just rests for a bit and nobody can even tell that she has had an attack.

The medication she’s been taking has helped her manage her epilepsy and she doesn’t faint or black out anymore.However, she’s aware that she has to take charge of her condition in other ways too — by practising a healthier lifestyle and not burdening herself with too much work or stress.

Christina has learnt to accept and manage her condition and move forward with her life.

“Before being diagnosed, I had a rather vague idea of what epilepsy was. I didn’t know that it could be treated through medication and that patients could live normal lives. I have very supportive siblings that understand my condition but often, I find it difficult to talk about it openly with others.”

Christina says many people struggle to fully comprehend her situation, and a lack of understanding also brings the danger of judging and stigmatising people like her.Even the gentleman at work who helped her get help, made her promise that she wouldn’t tell anyone about his condition.

“But here lies the complication — how can we then expect others to be able to comprehend something they aren’t aware of? That is why I chose to share my story, so that people can be aware of epilepsy, to understand that epilepsy does not define a person, it doesn’t define me.”

Christina stresses that epilepsy patients can most definitely lead normal lives. She herself has managed to complete her master’s degree and has been working as a lecturer for over 10 years.She has learnt to adapt to her condition, understanding that she has to adhere to a lifestyle that she can manage.She says in addition to the medication, it is crucial for patients to accept their condition and share the challenges they face.

When things got difficult for Christina, her neurologist arranged for her to see a psychiatrist. The sessions helped a lot as she could talk about her challenges, how she felt and what she was going through.

Christina believes patients can benefit a lot through counselling, especially when going through the more challenging phases of epilepsy.

“For me, it is about living life to the fullest, to wake up and smell the roses. Yes, epilepsy comes with its own set of challenges and sacrifices but I choose to look at the bright side and strive for the best.”

People with epilepsy need support and understanding from society. Picture from:

APPROXIMATELY 50 million people suffer from epilepsy worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and 80 per cent of its prevalence are found in low and middle income countries, including Malaysia.

It is estimated that epileptic patients make up one per cent of the overall Malaysian population, with an estimated 230,000 diagnosed cases, affecting individuals of all races, ages and gender.Despite this prevalence, a significant lack of awareness of the condition has resulted in often negative — and in extreme cases — malevolent connotations, with epilepsy being associated with individuals who are spiritually possessed.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition where a person experiences multiple and recurrent seizures. These seizures are uncontrollable and the result of sudden changes in the brain’s electrical activity, which are commonly associated with convulsions (when a person’s body shakes rapidly, without control).

However, not all seizures result in convulsions, with symptoms widely ranging in severity. With recent advances in treatment and medical understanding of the condition, patients suffering from epilepsy can lead very normal lives.

Counselling can be beneficial for people with epilepsy. Picture from:

THE word epilepsy comes from the Greek verb epilepsia, which means to take hold of or to seize.

Throughout history, all over the world and in various different cultures, epilepsy has been the subject of many misconceptions.

It is not difficult to understand why the disease, with its sudden and dramatic seizures was seen as a strange and almost mystical condition.

People with epilepsy were viewed as being possessed by the devil or evil spirits and this sadly, affected society’s attitudes towards people with the disease. Generally, people with epilepsy were viewed with fear, suspicion and misunderstanding, and were subjected to enormous social stigma.

They were treated as outcasts and even punished.There was even a belief that epilepsy was contagious and people used to spit at a person with the condition or refuse to use the same utensils as them.

However, despite this stigma and mistreatment, many famous people in history who suffered from the condition went on to achieve great things. These include Julius Caesar, Czar Peter the Great of Russia, Pope Pius IX, the writer Fyodor Dostoevsky and the poet, Lord Byron.

Source: Adapted from “History of Epilepsy” — www.epilepsy.caSidebar


Stay calm

Make sure the person is in a safe place.

Note the time the seizure starts.

Stay with them.

Cushion their head with something soft

Put them into the recovery position once the seizure has stopped.

Stay with them until they are fully recovered.

Call an ambulance if the seizure lasts more than five minutes.

Put anything in their mouth.

Hold them down.

Try to move them unless they are in danger.

Give them anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered.

Attempt to bring them around.

Sources:, and

Know what to do when someone has a seizure. Picture from:

* It isn’t contagious.

* It is one of the most common neurological disorders and affects people of all ages. It is not a rare condition. *It is a spectrum condition with a wide range of seizure types and control varying from person-to-person.

*Most people with epilepsy can do the same things that people without epilepsy can do. However, those with frequent seizures may not be able to work, drive, or may have problems in other parts of their life.

*Epilepsy cannot be cured

* A person can die from epilepsy. While it doesn’t happen frequently, epilepsy is a very serious condition and individuals do die from seizures.


Those with frequent seizures will be advised not to drive. Picture from:



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[WEBINAR] Webinar on Cannabis for Seizures


Location: Online
Description: Spectrum News presents a free webinar with Orrin Devinsky on cannabis compounds for epilepsy. He is professor of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry at New York University and director of the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. Time: 3 p.m. Eastern Time.
IAN Attending: No.
Event Date(s): July 17, 2018


via Webinar on Cannabis for Seizures | Interactive Autism Network

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[WEB SITE] Researchers develop new prediction method for epileptic seizures

Epileptic seizures strike with little warning and nearly one third of people living with epilepsy are resistant to treatment that controls these attacks. More than 65 million people worldwide are living with epilepsy.

Now researchers at the University of Sydney have used advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop a generalized method to predict when seizures will strike that will not require surgical implants.

Dr Omid Kavehei from the Faculty of Engineering and IT and the University of Sydney Nano Institute said: “We are on track to develop an affordable, portable and non-surgical device that will give reliable prediction of seizures for people living with treatment-resistant epilepsy.”

In a paper published this month in Neural Networks, Dr Kavehei and his team have proposed a generalized, patient-specific, seizure-prediction method that can alert epilepsy sufferers within 30 minutes of the likelihood of a seizure.

Dr Kavehei said there had been remarkable advances in artificial intelligence as well as micro- and nano-electronics that have allowed the development of such systems.

“Just four years ago, you couldn’t process sophisticated AI through small electronic chips. Now it is completely accessible. In five years, the possibilities will be enormous,” Dr Kavehei said.

The study uses three data sets from Europe and the United States. Using that data, the team has developed a predictive algorithm with sensitivity of up to 81.4 percent and false prediction rate as low as 0.06 an hour.

“While this still leaves some uncertainty, we expect that as our access to seizure data increases, our sensitivity rates will improve,” Dr Kavehei said.

Carol Ireland, chief executive of Epilepsy Action Australia, said: “Living with constant uncertainty significantly contributes to increased anxiety in people with epilepsy and their families, never knowing when the next seizure may occur.

“Even people with well controlled epilepsy have expressed their constant concern, not knowing if or when they will experience a seizure at work, school, traveling or out with friends.

“Any progress toward reliable seizure prediction will significantly impact the quality of life and freedom of choice for people living with epilepsy.”

Dr Kavehei and lead author of the study, Nhan Duy Truong, used deep machine learning and data-mining techniques to develop a dynamic analytical tool that can read a patient’s electroencephalogram, or EEG, data from a wearable cap or other portable device to gather EEG data.

Wearable technology could be attached to an affordable device based on the readily available Raspberry Pi technology that could give a patient a 30-minute warning and percentage likelihood of a seizure.

An alarm would be triggered between 30 and five minutes before a seizure onset, giving patients time to find a safe place, reduce stress or initiate an intervention strategy to prevent or control the seizure.

Dr Kavehei said an advantage of their system is that is unlikely to require regulatory approval, and could easily work with existing implanted systems or medical treatments.

The algorithm that Dr Kavehei and team have developed can generate optimized features for each patient. They do this using what is known as a ‘convolutional neural network’, that is highly attuned to noticing changes in brain activity based on EEG readings.

Other technologies being developed typically require surgical implants or rely on high levels of feature engineering for each patient. Such engineering requires an expert to develop optimized features for each prediction task.

An advantage of Dr Kavehei’s methodology is that the system learns as brain patterns change, requiring minimum feature engineering. This allows for faster and more frequent updates of the information, giving patients maximum benefit from the seizure prediction algorithm.

The next step for the team is to apply the neural networks across much larger data sets of seizure information, improving sensitivity. They are also planning to develop a physical prototype to test the system clinically with partners at the University of Sydney’s Westmead medical campus.


via Researchers develop new prediction method for epileptic seizures

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[WEB SITE] The effects of vitamin D on epilepsy

Student NT editor Rebecca Hammond says we should be mindful of the importance of vitamin D.
rebecca hammond close up 1
“Where has the sun gone?” and “Will we have a good summer?” are questions I and others living in Scotland have often asked ourselves.


Growing up, I always remembered vitamin D as being the ’sunshine vitamin’. However, since starting my nursing training, I have been interested in researching the importance and health benefits of vitamin D.

In the UK, we are encouraged to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This provides all needed nutrients excluding vitamin D. Oily fish has been identified as a significant source, whereas meat, egg yolks and other fortified foods, including margarine and some breakfast cereals, provide smaller amounts.

The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the UK is significant: during the winter, 30-40% of people in the general population and belonging to all age groups are vitamin D deficient. Near the end of the summer months, 13% of adolescents and 8% of adults are vitamin D deficient.

The intake of vitamin D and its status are imperative for overall health and wellbeing, as well as for bone and calcium-phosphate metabolism.

Without adequate vitamin D, bones may become brittle, thin or misshapenLiterature suggests that sufficient vitamin D status is protective against autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, neurocognitive dysfunction and respiratory infections.

Compared to the general population, individuals with learning disabilities have an increased risk of developing low bone mineral density, osteopenia, osteoporosis and fractures. This is mainly attributed to the higher prevalence of obesity or undernutrition, inactive lifestyles and polypharmacy.

Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition within the learning disability population. One in four people with a learning disability experience epilepsy, compared to one in five in the general population.

”The identified prevalence of vitamin D deficiencies among epilepsy patients is high”

Approximately, 30% of individuals with learning disabilities are prescribed anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), an identified risk factor for fractures and low bone-mass density. Reasons for this have not been definitively known, but it could potentially be due to AEDs breaking down the body’s vitamin D stores at a higher degree than normal.

Consequently, this could result in AEDs causing a vitamin D deficiency, which could potentially lead to osteoporosis and osteomalaica and an increased risk of fractures.

The identified prevalence of vitamin D deficiencies among epilepsy patients is high, however, the number of research studies assessing the effect of vitamin D on seizure control is limited.

One of these research studies, conducted in 2012, measured vitamin D levels and through the administration of vitamin D3, normalised levels in 13 patients with pharmacoresistant epilepsy.

To identify whether vitamin D3 was impactful on seizure frequency, the study compared numbers of seizures during a 90-day period, prior and following treatment commencement. The study found the median seizure reduction to be 40% and concluded that normalisation of vitamin D levels can have an anticonvulsant effect.

Due to very little evidence on the effect of vitamin D on epilepsy, it is acknowledged that this area needs researched further. However, as nurses this is something we could be mindful of.


via The effects of vitamin D on epilepsy | Opinion | Nursing Times

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