Epilepsy


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Description:

Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system in which the nerve cell activity in the brain is hindered which causes what's known as a seizure, exhibiting different symptoms and levels of severity case to case. A seizure is the behavioral change after an event of abnormal electrical signal from the brain, though it is many times interchanged with convulsions.

Symptoms:

  • Temporary confusion
  • Blankly staring for a short time
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness/awareness
  • Psychic symptoms

Types of Seizures:

  • Focal: Seizures from abnormal activity in 1 area of the brain. Simple focal seizures change patient emotions or the way things appear, or convulsion of a specific limb. Dyscognitive focal seizures result in more encompassing symptoms like loss of consciousness or awareness, such as staring spells, pacing/walking in circles(mayoclinic.org, epilepsy definition).
  • Generalized: Stem from entire brain, 6 types exist: Absence (staring, subtle movement), Tonic (stiffened muscles, falling), Clonic (rhythmic muscle spasms), Myoclonic (sudden/random spasms), Atonic (full loss of muscle control aka drop seizures), and Tonic-clonic (loss of consciousness, convulsions, sometimes loss of bladder control or tongue-biting)(mayoclinic.org, epilepsy definition).

Treatment:

Epilepsy cannot be cured, however treatment options are available.

Medication:

Anti-seizure medications or seizure mitigation medications are suggested based on the frequency of the patient's seizures (mayoclinic.org, epilepsy treatment).
  • Dilantin
  • Mysoline
  • Depakote
  • Valium

Surgery:

When the seizures are found in a single part of your brain that doesn't affect important functions (speech, motor control, etc.), surgery to remove that part of your brain is available. When it's found in multiple parts or one that is essential, surgery where multiple cuts are made into your brain to prevent seizure activity from spreading to other parts of the brain are suggested.

Related Terminology:

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Epileptic Seizure
  • EEG Monitoring

Web Resources:

Epilepsy Foundation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

References:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0013-9580.2005.66104.x/pdf
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/basics/definition/con-20033721
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/basics/treatment/con-20033721
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003200.htm

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