Posts Tagged seizures

[WEB SITE] Antiepileptic Drug Fycompa, Already Approved in US, Launched in Japan

Antiepileptic Drug Fycompa, Already Approved in US, Launched in Japan

Eisai recently announced the company will launch its novel antiepileptic drug (AED) Fycompa, which is intended as an adjunctive therapy for people suffering from epilepsy and experiencing partial-onset or primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures despite receiving other AEDs. Eisai’s formulation was approved for marketing and manufacturing in March, and the product was recently included in Japan’s National Health Insurance drug price list.

Fycompa (perampanel hydrate) was discovered by the company in-house labs, and is suggested as a once-daily oral tablet. Fycompa is a selective and noncompetitive AMPA receptor antagonist which can reduce neuronal hyperexcitation linked to seizures. The drug influences the postsynaptic glutamate activity at AMPA receptors.

Fycompa was tested in two Phase 3 clinical studies; in a Study 335 of adjunctive therapy in refractory partial-onset seizures, and in a Study 332 of adjunctive therapy in primary generalized tonic-clonic (PGTC) seizures. The studies showed a significant drop in the frequency of seizure occurrence.

In Study 332, 30.9 percent of people who received Fycompa therapy did not experience PGTC seizures over the 13-week study period. The most frequent adverse events included headache, dizziness, somnolence, irritability, and fatigue.

About 1 million Japanese people are affected by epilepsy. The disorder is classified by seizure type: partial-onset seizures account for about 60 percent, and generalized seizures account for about 40 percent of cases. PGTC seizures are the most frequent and serious forms of generalized seizures, occurring in 60 percent of generalized seizures and about 20 percent of all epilepsy cases.

The generalized tonic-clonic seizure is an important risk linked to sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. As about 30 percent of people suffering from epilepsy are not able to manage seizures with current therapeutic approaches, there is a relevant unmet medical need.

Fycompa is approved in 45 countries and territories, including the U.S. and Europe, as an adjunctive therapy of partial-onset seizures in patients suffering from epilepsy who are 12 or older. Fycompa is also approved in 35 countries and territories, including the Europe and the U.S., for the adjunctive treatment of PGTC seizures in people suffering from epilepsy, who are 12 and older.

Eisai focuses on neurology as a therapeutic area, and by providing Fycompa as a new therapy in Japan, the company intends to further address the wider needs of people suffering from epilepsy.

Source: Antiepileptic Drug Fycompa, Already Approved in US, Launched in Japan – Epilepsy News Today


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[WEB SITE] Seizures Follow Similar Path Regardless of Speed

Summary: By capturing a cell by cell view of seizures propagating through a mouse brain, researchers discovered neurons fire in a sequential pattern, regardless of how quickly the seizure occurs. The findings confirm seizures are not a result of neurons going haywire.

Source: Columbia University.

Of the 50 million people who suffer from epilepsy worldwide, a third fail to respond to medication. As the search for better drugs continues, researchers are still trying to make sense of how seizures start and spread.

In a new study in Cell Reports, researchers at Columbia University come a step closer by showing that the neurons of mice undergoing seizures fire off in a sequential pattern no matter how quickly the seizure propagates — a finding that confirms seizures are not the result of neurons randomly going haywire.

“This is good news,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Rafael Yuste, a neuroscientist at Columbia. “It means that local neuronal circuits matter, and that targeting the right cells may stop or even prevent some types of brain seizure.”

To induce the seizures, researchers injected a tiny area of cortex in awake mice with two types of drugs–one that increases neuronal firing and another that blocks the inhibitory interneurons that control information flow between cells. Recording the seizures as they rippled outward, researchers found that cells in the mouse’s brain systematically fired one after the other. Under both models, the seizure spread across the top layer of cortex in a wave-like pattern before descending into its lower layers.

Unexpectedly, they found that whether the seizure lasted 10 seconds or 30 seconds, it followed the same route, like a commuter stuck in traffic. The concept of neurons firing in a reliable pattern no matter how fast the seizure is traveling is illustrated on the cover of Cell Reports, drawn by the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Wenzel.

“The basic pattern of a string stretched between two hands stays the same whether the hands move closer together or farther away,” he says. “Just as neurons maintain their relative firing patterns regardless of how slowly or quickly the seizure unfolds.”

Researchers were able to get a cell-by-cell view of a seizure propagating through a mouse’s brain using high-speed calcium imaging that allowed them to zoom in 100 times closer than electrode techniques used on the human brain.

Image shows brain.

Researchers were able to get a cell-by-cell view of a seizure propagating through a mouse’s brain using high-speed calcium imaging that allowed them to zoom in 100 times closer than electrode techniques used on the human brain. image is in the public domain.

It may be the first time that researchers have watched a seizure unfold at this level of detail, and their findings suggest that inhibitory neurons may be a promising area of future research, said Dr. Catherine Schevon, a neurology professor at Columbia University Medical Center who was not involved in the research.

“The role of inhibitory restraint in seizure development is an area that few have studied at micrometer scale,” she said. “This could be a useful treatment target for future drug development or stem cell interneuron implants.”

Source: Seizures Follow Similar Path Regardless of Speed – Neuroscience News


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[WEB SITE] Why Am I Having Seizures Seven Years Post-Brain Injury? – BrainLine

Why Am I Having Seizures Seven Years Post-Brain Injury?


I had a subdural hematoma from a rock climbing fall back in 2003. I was rescued by helicopter and taken to a trauma center where I had a craniotomy to stop the bleeding. I was told by the surgeons that I had an excellent chance of a full recovery, which proved to be true after about five months.

In January 2010, I had a grand mal seizure. After MRIs and an EEG, the seizure was thought to be a one-time event due to drinking too much and then coming home and taking some prescription sleep medication, which lowered my seizure threshold.

But a month ago, I had a tonic-clonic seizure totally by surprise. I was at a meeting and was not drinking. I had been working extremely hard and not sleeping well as a result. I was told to take 1,000 of Keppra per day which had terrible side affects. I cut back the Keppra to 250mg before bedtime and that’s all. My doctor is sending me another brand of medication to try.

Why would I have seizures seven years after the accident? And, what are the chances of staying off medication and just taking good care of myself? I have been sleeping regularly and better, quit drinking alcohol, exercising, doing meditation and yoga, and I feel great.


Approximately 5-10 percent of individuals with traumatic brain injury experience new- onset seizures. The risk of seizure increases with increasing injury severity, depressed skull fracture, intracranial hematoma, and penetrating trauma. The risk is greatest in the first two years after injury and gradually declines thereafter.

A well-written review of seizure is available on BrainLine, written by the Knowledge Translation Center of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model System:

From what you describe, the traumatic brain injury you sustained left an epileptogenic focus. This is the injured area where the seizures start from. Conditions that could increase the risk of having a seizure include:

  • High fever
  • Loss of sleep and extreme fatigue
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Chemical changes in the body such as low sodium or magnesium, or high calcium

Some of these conditions you can control and some you can’t. Some seizure medications have more side effects than others. It is important to speak with your neurologist about your feelings and concerns. You could also seek the consultation of an epileptologist (seizure specialist).

Source: Why Am I Having Seizures Seven Years Post-Brain Injury? | BrainLine

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[BLOG POST] Three Anti-Seizure Diets That Could Change Your Life…

Epilepsy Talk

Just when you feel thatall is lost, and you’re about to give up on your meds,there is another option. (In fact, there are three!)

They may notbeat your epilepsy(although some people say they do!) but theycan help reduce your seizures and the amounts of medication needed.

The Ketogenic Diet — one of the oldest treatments for epilepsy.

There are many children for whom epilepsy medications like Lamictal, Depakote, and Zarotin are ineffective in controlling or even reducing seizures. These drugs, especially in combination, can also cause unpredictable and serious side-effects.

That’s why many parents have turned to alternative therapies for seizure management. Because ketones seem to have an anti-convulsive effect, one of the most promising and least invasive alternative treatments for seizures has been the Ketogenic Diet.

The diet is a high fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate diet which works by fasting which in turn, creates ketones, which…

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[BLOG POST] Some Stress and Anxiety Solutions…

Epilepsy Talk

Sometimes my hands shake so much, I look like I’m leading a symphony. (Without a baton.) Legs too, I have to sit down.

Maybe you panic before a test, the very fear of having a seizure, social rejection, job anxieties, debt, fear of failure, an anticipated argument, holidays, fear of flying.

There are probably as many kinds of stress and panic attacks as there are those of us who suffer from them.

And behaviors: trembling, sweating, hyperventilating, breathlessness, feeling faint or light-headed, a sense of disorientation, cramping, nausea, your heart pounding like it’s going to explode from your chest, a fear of dying. Or you’re just plain scared.

I could go on forever. And I’m sure you could, too.

It might be because your serotonin level is low, you’re feeling a sense of “fight or flight.”

But anxiety is actually related to epilepsy in more specific ways. It can occur…

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[BLOG POST] Is the weather a risk factor for epileptic seizures? 


Weather as a risk factor for epileptic seizures: a case-crossover study.

Rakers F, Walther M, Schiffner R, et al.

Epilepsia 2017; doi: 10.1111/epi.13776 (Epub ahead of print).



Most epileptic seizures occur unexpectedly and independently of known risk factors. We aimed to evaluate the clinical significance of patients’ perception that weather is a risk factor for epileptic seizures.


Using a hospital-based, bidirectional case-crossover study, 604 adult patients admitted to a large university hospital in Central Germany for an unprovoked epileptic seizure between 2003 and 2010 were recruited. The effect of atmospheric pressure, relative air humidity, and ambient temperature on the onset of epileptic seizures under temperate climate conditions was estimated.


We found a close-to-linear negative correlation between atmospheric pressure and seizure risk. For every 10.7 hPa lower atmospheric pressure, seizure risk increased in the entire study population by 14% (odds ratio [OR] 1.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.28). In patients with less severe epilepsy treated with one antiepileptic medication, seizure risk increased by 36% (1.36, 1.09-1.67). A high relative air humidity of >80% increased seizure risk in the entire study population by up to 48% (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.11-1.96) 3 days after exposure in a J-shaped association. High ambient temperatures of >20°C decreased seizure risk by 46% in the overall study population (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.32-0.90) and in subgroups, with the greatest effects observed in male patients (OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.14-0.74).


Low atmospheric pressure and high relative air humidity are associated with an increased risk for epileptic seizures, whereas high ambient temperatures seem to decrease seizure risk. Weather-dependent seizure risk may be accentuated in patients with less severe epilepsy. Our results require further replication across different climate regions and cohorts before reliable clinical recommendations can be made.

This reference is included in the neurochecklist:

Medical causes of seizures

Source: Is the weather a risk factor for epileptic seizures? – Neurochecklists Updates

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[WEB SITE] #DareTo Go the Distance in Your Journey with Epilepsy – Epilepsy Foundation

While each person with seizures and epilepsy is different, many of the steps along the journey toward a life with no seizures and no side effects are similar.

Depending on the type of epilepsy, other neurological problems, and other factors, some people may find it hard to get complete seizure freedom. But DO NOT STOP TRYING!

We are constantly learning more about how to better diagnose, treat, predict, prevent, and care for seizures and epilepsy. And ultimately, with your help, we will find a cure.

The Journey Toward Seizure Control:

  1. When a Seizure is Suspected
  2. Creating Your Health Care Team
  3. At the Beginning of Your Treatment Journey
  4. When Seizures Persist or Side Effects are a Problem
  5. Managing Your Epilepsy
  6. Finding Help and Support

#DareTo Go the Distance

Wherever you are in your journey, we encourage you to explore all of these steps.

  • If you are still having seizures but consider them a “manageable” part of your life, don’t stop there. Don’t settle for continued seizures!
  • Find out if other tests are needed to check your diagnosis.
  • Ask about new treatment options. If the first 2 or 3 medicines haven’t worked, ask to see an epilepsy specialist, called an epileptologist (this is a neurologist who specializes in epilepsy).
  • If you have been or currently are being seen at an epilepsy center, ask for a progress report from your team.
    • Are there new options or research trials to consider?
    • If seizures have changed, does testing need to be updated?
    • What else can you do to improve your life and health?

Video Moderator: Patty Osborne Shafer RN, MN, is an epilepsy clinical nurse specialist at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and the associate editor and community manager of


  • Nathan Fountain MD is a professor of neurology and director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at the University of Virginia and chair of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Professional Advisory Board
  • Sandra Dewar RN, MS, is a clinical nurse specialist at the Seizure Disorders Center at University of California in Los Angeles.

Ask questions. Become an active advocate for your health care.

  • Enlist the help of your family, friends, and your entire medical team.
  • Add to your medical team by seeing an epileptologist.
  • Look at how epilepsy is affecting your health and daily life. If other problems are present, ask to see other members of the epilepsy team.
  • Consider if you are taking all the steps you can to manage your seizures and the side effects of the medications. What can you do to help?
  • Ask for help.
Authored by: Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN | Associate Editor / Community Manager on 11/2015
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Editor-in-Chief

Source: #DareTo Go the Distance in Your Journey with Epilepsy | Epilepsy Foundation

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[WEB SITE] Stress and Epilepsy – Epilepsy Foundation


  • Seizures and epilepsy affect all ages. While they tend to occur for the first time in young children or older adults, each age group has unique concerns and problems.
  • We aren’t sure just why stress may trigger a seizure.
  • While there is no definite evidence that reducing stress help seizures, a recent study showed that nearly 9 in 10 people who actively managed their stress believed it reduced their risk of seizures.
  • Try to avoid stressful situations if it makes sense to do so, and if you can avoid it.

Stress is one of the most common seizure triggers for people with epilepsy.


How often does stress trigger seizures?

It’s hard to know exactly how often stress triggers seizures, since stress means something different to everyone. It’s also hard to judge how much of an effect stress has on a person.

Stress comes in different forms and has a different meaning for everyone. It can come from a major life event or from more everyday activities that can potentially put us in a bad mood. Some studies have found that major life stressors, either good or bad, could affect seizures. Others have found that a build up of ‘daily hassles’ or stress seems to be more important. Since people are very different, it’s likely that stress can affect people in different ways at different times of their life.

VIDEO: Dr. Michael Privitera, MD talks about the relationship of stress and epilepsy, and an innovative new study to explore how stress reduction may also reduce seizures. 

How does stress trigger seizures?

We aren’t sure just why stress may trigger a seizure. Stress is an expected and unavoidable part of life. It is our body’s reaction to any change that requires a physical and emotional response. Stress is known to cause worry, depression, frustration and even anger. Stress may affect people in many ways. Consider the following:

  • Stress makes or releases certain hormones related to the nervous system that can impact the brain.
  • Areas of the brain important for some types of seizures, for example partial seizures, are the same areas of the brain involved in emotions and responding to stress.
  • Stress can cause problems sleeping which is also a seizure trigger.
  • Chronic stress can lead to anxiety or depression. Sleep problems are symptoms of these mood problems. Being anxious and depressed can also worsen stress, causing a vicious cycle with more seizures and mood problems.

What can I do to manage stress and prevent seizures?

While there is no definite evidence that reducing stress help seizures, a recent study showed that nearly 9 in 10 people who actively managed their stress believed it reduced their risk of seizures. Common sense tells us that if something is bothering you, see what you can do to avoid it or make it better.

Managing stress is very personal and specific to your situation; however, there are some universal activities and recommendations.

  • Use a diary and write down what’s likely to cause stress for you.
  • Try to avoid stressful situations if it makes sense to do so, and if you can avoid it! If you can’t avoid it, can you let go of the worry it’s causing you?
  • When a stressful situation is unavoidable, make sure you are doing your best to get enough sleep and take your seizure medications on time.
  • Find ways to diffuse a situation. Avoid people who cause anger and anxiety if you can. Try to approach them differently – it may help calm down the stressful situation.
  • Exercise regularly. Lots of research has shown the exercise helps lower stress.
  • Do your best to relax. Try exercise, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, a massage, cat naps, or relaxation and controlled breathing techniques.
  • Limit long naps during the day. Sleeping during the day will cause sleep problems at night and make people feel worse.
  • Keep to a daily routine. Pace yourself and take frequent breaks.
  • Set priorities for what is important in your life and let the rest go.
  • Seek help. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or counselor. Let them know what’s bothering you.
    • Make sure the epilepsy team knows that stress is affecting your seizures.
    • Seek counseling or psychotherapy. If you think you may have anxiety or depression, talk to you doctor about treatment options.
    • Join a support group or online support community. Reach out to the Epilepsy Foundation affiliate near you.
Authored by: Michael Privitera, MD | Sheryl Haut, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN | Joseph I. Sirven, MD on 7/2013
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 3/2014

Source: Stress and Epilepsy | Epilepsy Foundation

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[WEB SITE] Epilepsy and natural treatments: Can they help?


Epilepsy is a disease that disrupts the electrical activity of the nervous system, causing seizures.

More than 65 million people in the world have epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation estimate that 1 in 26 Americans will develop the disease during their lives.

Children are the group most frequently diagnosed with new cases of epilepsy. In the United States, 300,000 children under 14 are affected by the condition. Some may outgrow the disorder, but most will not. The number of senior citizens with epilepsy is also 300,000.

People with epilepsy have a range of treatment options, including alternative therapies.

The illness is a complex condition, however, and all alternative treatment options must be looked at carefully, to ensure they are effective.

It is essential to work with a doctor when making changes in treatment, as every epileptic seizure can cause brain damage, and the effects build up. So, any treatment must work to avoid seizures.

Causes of epilepsy

electrical activity in the brain diagram

Epilepsy is a complex disease that can disrupt the electrical activity of the nervous system.

Infections, which can cause scarring on the brain that leads to seizures, are among the more common causes of epilepsy.

Possible links between autism and epilepsy are also under investigation, as a third of children on the autism spectrum are also likely to have seizures.

In the over 65s, strokes are the most common cause of new seizures. Family history and brain injuries account for other cases.

However, the Epilepsy Foundation say the cause is unknown in 60 percent of people.

Eight natural remedies for epilepsy

People with epilepsy and their doctors are expressing growing interest in alternative therapies.

Although antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) help most people control their symptoms, these do not work for everyone. Furthermore, some people are concerned about the long-term safety of these drugs.

Complementary health practices for epilepsy, such as the eight natural remedies discussed here, are designed for use in combination with AEDs.

After talking to a doctor, and before beginning natural treatments, people with epilepsy should ensure they are working with a well-qualified and informed therapist.

Common complementary treatments for epilepsy include the following:

Medical marijuana

Cannabis sativa, or marijuana, as it is commonly known, has been used to treat convulsions for centuries. Today, it is attracting increasing attention from people with epilepsy, clinicians, and researchers.

Interest in the use of medical marijuana is particularly strong for the roughly 1 million U.S. residents whose seizures are not controlled by AEDs. Some families with young children, suffering from severe seizures, have moved to one of the 22 states where medical marijuana use is legal.

Charlotte’s Web is a strain of cannabis bred to contain high levels of CBD, a part of the plant showing promise against seizures. It is named after a child whose convulsions dropped from more than 300 a week to 2-3 a month with this treatment.

However, since broad-based, well-designed scientific studies have yet to prove the effectiveness of marijuana in treating epilepsy, doctors do not generally recommend its use.


The ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that may help to reduce seizures.

Diet is one of the earliest forms of treatment for epilepsy and is used with contemporary variations to make it easier for children and adults to adopt.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has had some success in reducing seizures in children who cannot tolerate or benefit from AEDs. It requires extensive commitment and monitoring.

The Atkins diet is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that is less restrictive and has shown positive effects.

Low glycemic index treatment (LGIT) is similar but allows for a targeted level of carbohydrate consumption.

Herbal treatments

Herbs are used for many illnesses by 80 percent of the world’s population. Remedies drawing on Chinese traditions have shown promise in treating epilepsy.

Some herbs, such as chamomile, passionflower, and valerian, may make AEDs more effective and calming.

However, ginkgo, ginseng, and stimulating herbs containing caffeine and ephedrine can make seizures worse.

St. John’s wort can interfere with medications and make seizures more likely, similarly to evening primrose and borage.

Caution is advised when working with all these herbs.

It is important to remember that herbs are not monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If any herbs are used, they should be researched and bought from reputable sources.


Low levels of the B6 vitamin have been known to trigger seizures.

Magnesium, vitamin E, and other vitamins and nutritional supplements, have been identified as either promising or problematic for treating epilepsy.

People taking AEDs are often advised to take vitamin D supplements to keep their systems in balance.

Along with vitamin B6, magnesium, and vitamin E, which have been found to be helpful in treating epilepsy, doctors have found treatment with manganese and taurine reduced seizures, as well.

Thiamine may help improve the ability to think in people with epilepsy.


When AEDs do not work, some people have successfully used biofeedback to reduce seizures.

With the use of extensive training and a machine that detects electrical activity in the brain, the technique teaches individuals to recognize the warning signs of seizures, and train their brains to prevent a full-blown attack.


Stress and anxiety are both linked to seizures.

There are many different practices that people with epilepsy can follow on their own to help them feel calmer, relax their muscles, get better sleep, and enjoy a better state of mind.

All these actions taken together can help reduce seizures and make it easier for people to manage their epilepsy.

People should be cautious if trying meditation, as this can change the electrical signals in the brain.

Some essential oils used in aromatherapy, such as lavender, chamomile, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, have been found to be effective in preventing seizures when used with relaxation techniques.

However, the Epilepsy Society report that others may provoke seizures. These include spike lavender, eucalyptus, camphor, sage, rosemary, hyssop, and fennel.

Acupuncture and chiropractic


Acupuncture may help to reduce the stress of living with epilepsy.

While acupuncture does not seem to be helpful in preventing seizures, people with epilepsy find it can reduce the stress of living with the condition.

There is little evidence on chiropractic care, but it also may be among the natural treatments people with epilepsy find useful.

Education and avoiding triggers

Education and avoidance can have a big impact on quality of life for people with this condition.

Many of those with epilepsy find that their seizures develop in response to specific triggers. This is the case for people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Learning how to avoid situations and stimuli that could spark a seizure can be very helpful. Some children may learn to avoid using video games in dark rooms, for example, or to cover one eye when exposed to flashing lights.

Do natural treatments for epilepsy work?

For many practices, there has not been enough study to give a definite answer to this question, one way or the other.

The following overview of the top natural treatments for epilepsy offers a quick summary of their reported effectiveness:

  • Diet: The ketogenic diet, usually prescribed for children whose epilepsy does not respond to AEDs, has been shown to cut their seizures by half and eliminate seizures completely for 10-15 percent of those studied.
  • Herbal treatments: Two studies of Chinese herbal compounds found them effective at reducing seizures in children and adults. But some herbs, such as St. John’s wort, can make seizures worse.
  • Vitamins: Many studies have linked low levels of vitamin B6, magnesium, and vitamin E to seizures. Treating people with supplemental doses helped reduce the frequency of seizures.
  • Biofeedback: Researchers in 10 different studies showed that 74 percent of people whose epilepsy could not be treated with medication, reported fewer seizures after they learned this technique.
  • Relaxation: Fewer seizures and a better quality of life were reported by children who took part in trials, according to research.
  • Acupuncture and chiropractic: Scientific studies have not found acupuncture to be effective for people with epilepsy. However, positive outcomes were reported for some children with drug-resistant epilepsy who tried chiropractic therapy.
  • Education: After learning more about epilepsy, coping strategies for it, and how to take medication, improved quality of life was observed for people of all ages with epilepsy.


Many reports on the effectiveness of complementary treatments for epilepsy come from personal experience, and from studies that are not considered conclusive.

Most importantly, people should always talk to their doctor before trying natural treatments to help ease their symptoms.

Source: Epilepsy and natural treatments: Can they help? – Medical News Today

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[WEB SITE] The Relationship Between Seizures and Strokes – Saebo


Strokes can damage the brain in many ways, and these negative effects take different forms depending on the person and their stroke. But in general, strokes can influence emotionsmobilityverbal communication, behavior, and memory. One problem caused by stroke that’s harder to notice is the increased risk of seizures.

Seizures are actually more common after stroke than you might have guessed. Statistics show that seizures afflict 22 percent of people who suffer from strokes. They are important to watch out for as they indicate malfunctions in brain activity and cause an altered state of awareness for a stretch of time.

The information below gives you the essentials on the relationship between strokes and seizures so you are more prepared for what can happen in the aftermath of a stroke.


What Causes Seizures After Stroke?

Injuries leave their marks, and it’s the same case when strokes scar the brain. But unlike a scar on your skin, scarring in the brain leads to frightening effects—namely, changes to electrical activity within the brain. Normally, our brain cells communicate in an on-and-off pattern, but during a seizure, these cells emit bursts of energy, sometimes causing unintentional body movements, unusual sensations, and short periods of unconsciousness.

There are two different kinds of strokes: hemorrhagic and ischemic. Hemorrhagic strokes result from bleeding around or inside the brain, and ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot or the absence of blood flow to the brain.

If you’ve suffered from hemorrhagic (bleeding) strokes, you’re much more likely to experience seizures post stroke than those who’ve suffered from an ischemic stroke. You’re also more likely to experience seizures if a stroke takes place in the cerebral cortex, the outer layer of tissue in the brain.


Epilepsy After Stroke

A stroke survivor might experience frequent seizures, which could indicate epilepsy. Epilepsy is diagnosed when seizures become regular and are not associated with a specific cause.

Experiencing a single seizure following a stroke does not necessarily mean a patient has epilepsy. It’s only when seizures become frequent that epilepsy will be diagnosed. Sometimes, when signs of a stroke are not clear, a seizure may be evidence that somebody has suffered a stroke in the past. This is most common in children and infants.

However, epilepsy is uncommon. It usually occurs in people who are still experiencing seizures a month or more after their stroke has occurred.


Recognizing the Signs of a Seizure

There are as many as forty different types of seizures known. Symptoms of seizures vary depending on the type of seizure you experience. A generalized seizure is the most common, and it tends to show these symptoms:

  • Trembling and shaking
  • Numb and prickling sensation
  • Unconsciousness
  • Muscle contractions and cramps
  • Change in emotions and behavior
  • Confusion and uncertainty
  • Loss or alteration of basic senses (smell, sound, sight, taste, or touch)
  • Incontinence
  • Loss of mobility


What to Do When Someone Has a Seizure

It’s very alarming to witness somebody having a seizure, but it’s important to keep them from being injured. Here’s what you can do:

  • Make sure the person is on their side to prevent any vomiting or choking. You can do this by rolling them to their side and/or cushioning their head.
  • If the person is wearing any clothing around their neck, loosen it to keep the airway open. You can also gently grab their jaw and tilt their head back to make sure they’re able to continue breathing.
  • Often, when people experience seizures, they may move or jerk uncontrollably. If this happens, do not restrict movement unless they are in immediate danger. It’s also important to remove sharp objects that they could hit during the seizure.
  • Never put anything, including liquid or medication, into the person’s mouth.
  • If you can, make a note of how long the seizure lasts and what symptoms were experienced. This way, you’ll be better able to inform a doctor or emergency responder.
  • Do not leave the person having a seizure alone. Stay with them until it ends, and seek treatment immediately.


Treating Post-Stroke Seizures and Epilepsy

If you just experienced one seizure that happens shortly after a stroke (a month or so later), then you will most likely not need treatment. You may be prescribed medication if you continue to experience seizures, however.

Sadly, there is no cure for epilepsy, but there are medications that can help to prevent seizures and will help you to live a normal life. Treatment will depend on what kind of seizure you experience, how many you have, other medications you may already be taking, and any other symptoms caused by your stroke.

Medications available for epilepsy are called anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). These work by inhibiting the extreme bursts of energy in the brain that cause seizures in the first place. It’s important to remember that normal brain activity could be affected by these medications, causing lightheadedness, fatigue, confusion, and other symptoms. Once your body adjusts to the medication, these side effects may subside.


Help During Recovery

Remember that it’s common to experience seizures following a stroke. Strokes have many consequences, but there are a number of treatments available to help you through this difficult time. It’s always best to talk to your doctor to figure out a plan to manage your symptoms.

Source: The Relationship Between Seizures and Strokes | Saebo


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