Electrical Impulse Control for Epileptic Patients
Electrical Impulse Control for Epileptic Patients
Epileptic patients undergo convulsions; along with confusion for short periods of timed and quite often the cause is unknown for the average adult. According to The Epilepsy Foundation, worldwide 65 million people suffer from this disorder. When a large number of neurons in the brain send out an electrical charge at the same time the intensity of this occurrence overwhelms the brain causing a seizure. This will cause muscle spasms, usually a loss of consciousness, incontinence and other symptoms. This is the most common neurological disorder in the United States.
There are, however, numerous types of seizures, and there are also different types of seizures that occur in the four areas of the brain,which include the frontal, temporal, parietal and the occipital lobes. The different types of epilepsy require different types of treatments and I will not include the large amount of details in this hub.
Electrical Brain Waves
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What Causes a Seizure?
Many things may cause seizures including a high fever, especially in a child. If your child has a high fever (102°) or higher, place them into a tepid water bath to bring the fever down, then get some medical care. Head trauma is another common cause of seizures. Unfortunately, doctors do not know what causes epilepsy in 7 out of 10 cases, so these are called idiopathic seizures. In addition, there are several types of seizures and genetic research is ongoing. Seizures are diagnosed by how they look and EEG (Electroencephalography), which is a test, which measures the voltage of the brain neurons.
When I was in fifth grade and walking out of school one sunny day, this girl I didn’t know fell to the ground and was shaking all over. Teachers came running out of the school and took her back in after a few minutes. We had no idea of why this happened and I remembered being frightened. I was even frightened of her, as I simply didn’t know any better. I remember the teachers telling us she had some kind of disease the next day, but I was still skeptical as it looked scary to me.
Some seizures are so mild they may go on for years undiagnosed. Obviously the type of seizure that leaves you on the ground shaking all over is quite noticeable. Seizures do not necessarily do long term brain damage, particularly in children. However, there is a condition called status epilepticus, which require immediate medical attention as it is a very prolonged seizure.
Treatment of Seizures
The onset of epilepsy in the elderly has increased, particularly after the age of 60. Nursing homes have seen an increase in this diagnosis and the use of antiepileptic drugs, such as phenytoin, carbamazepine and phenobarbital. These medications are also used to treat other disease common to the elderly, like neuralgias, essential tremors and other behavior disorders. The assessment in the elderly is sometimes difficult due to other disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease, strokes and other diseases.
New Treatment for Seizures
The “Cyberonics’ Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS)” was approved in 1997, and is an implanted device designed to detect and stop seizures. This device is only helpful for some people. Another remarkable advancement that is more effective is an implantable device that detects electrical brain activity, which was designed for patients with epilepsy. The devices detect a seizure as they start and the device actually prevents them before they happen with electrical stimulation. These devices are particular helpful for people whose seizures begin in a section of the brain referred to as the “seizure focus”. Beside the electrical stimulation, these devices may include drug delivery and cooling, each designed to interrupt seizure activity. The cooling device actually detects the temperature of the brain rising indicating an oncoming seizure, and it cools the brain immediately preventing the seizure from occurring. These devices are certainly the newest treatment for epilepsy and have the potential to change the life of an epileptic patient.
Implantable Device May Predict Seizures
This area of research is a fantastic discovery for the epileptic patient as many are unable to be controlled with medications. Epilepsy is a difficult disease for the patient and their family. In my nursing years I remember a young man who had to wear a football helmet all the time. He had such frequent seizures that brain injury from falls were a real threat.
© 2012 Pamela Oglesby
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