Frequently Identified Causes of Epilepsy
  • Head injury that causes scarring of the brain tissue.
  • Trauma at birth, or high fever.
  • Excessively rough handling or shaking of infants.
  • Certain drugs or toxic substances when administered in large doses.
  • Interruption of blood flow to the brain caused by stroke, tumor, or certain cardiovascular problems.
  • Diseases which alter the balance of blood or its chemical structure, or diseases that damage the nerve cells in the brain.
Types of Seizures

Commonly Diagnosed Epilepsy Syndromes

there are hundreds of different classifiable forms of epilepsy. some have been identified as hereditary, some have no identifiable cause. only about half of all cases of epilepsy have a known cause, the other half are idiopathic. here is a list of the most commonly diagnosed epilepsy syndromes:

First Aid for Epileptic Seizures

The Impact of Epilepsy on Quality of Life

Dangers and Risks Associated with Epilepsy

Laws Regarding Epilepsy and Driving, By State

Interesting Facts about Epilepsy

please note: my ideas for expansion of this node include first aid information for various types of seizures, information about commonly prescribed medications, and general overall implications of the disorder. i would also like to include information about the status of epileptics and drivers licenses within each of the fifty states. this is an ongoing project.

yes i am epileptic. learning and teaching about it make me feel as though i have a modicum of control over it. if there is any information that you feel i am leaving out, or if you want to know something specific please msg me about it in the chatterbox.

Nerve cells function by discharging small electrical waves. Those discharges arising from the brain can be measured by the 'electroen-cephalograph' (E.E.G.).

If the brain cells suddenly produce a burst of larger electrical waves than normal, then an epileptic fit may result. Patients whose brains have a tendency to do this repeatedly are said to suffer from epilepsy. This disease is often hereditary; or it may develop from an area of damaged tissue. These two main types of epilepsy are called 'idiopathic' and 'symptomatic'.

Idiopathic epilepsy, the fits start in childhood, adolescence (especially around puberty), and sometimes early adult life; they take the form of either generalised convulsions, or petit mal attacks.

Symptomatic epilepsy, the fits are one of the symptoms of brain damage, or disease. As methods of neurological investigation have improved, more and more cases once considered 'idiopathic' have been transferred into this group. The suspicion that epileptic attacks are symptomatic arises when (a) the attacks start later in life, usually over the age of 30; (b) they are focal; (c) there are abnormal signs in between attacks, or shortly after an attack.

Once a fit has started, nothing will work quickly enough to stop it. The immediate treatment is to prevent the patient injuring himself and to ensure that his breathing is not obstructed. A firm object should be placed between the teeth, and the patient should be removed from anything that may harm him/her during the fit, such as fire, heights, traffic, water, walls, and articles of furniture. Their clothing should be loosened, the tongue must not be able to fall into the back of his/her mouth, and their head must not be able to fall into a pillow or cushion to cause suffocation. On recovery the patient must not be left alone in case post-epileptic automatism develops.

In Anatomy a few days ago, we watched a video on some new techniques for removing the area of the brain that is causing epileptic seizures. The area is different for everyone, but in both the cases that were shown, it was near the speech area. The seizures are caused by one defective nerve cell, whose location can be found in a couple of ways.

One of them is surgery. Its an exploratory operation that leaves the flap of skull open for at least one seizure after the initial operation. The way it's done is once they get to the raw brain, they place a strip of plastic with electrodes in it on the surface of the brain. The electrodes are all hooked up to a computer which moniters them in the beginning of the seizure. Which ever area reacts first is the one with defective brain matter.

The other way to find the nerve cell is by a special type of X-ray. This is the more accurate of the two and less intrusive. It is, of course, also the more expensive. But the case we saw where this was used pinpointed the cell exactly, one centimeter away from the speech area of the brain. The patient had not been able to get the cell removed before this because the previous technique had not allowed the doctors to see exactly where the defect was, and they thought it was too close to the vocal area to allow surgery.

There is hope beyond medication for epileptics, especially the severe cases. This surgery lets the patient live without fear of seizures; permanently. All I have to say is yay for technology.

Ep"i*lep`sy (?), n. [L. epilepsia, Gr. a seizure, the "falling sickness," fr. to take besides, seize, attack; upon, besides + to take: cf. F. 'epilepsie. Cf. Catalepsy.] Med.

The "falling sickness," so called because the patient falls suddenly to the ground; a disease characterized by paroxysms (or fits) occurring at interval and attended by sudden loss of consciousness, and convulsive motions of the muscles.



© Webster 1913.

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