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Electrical Impulse Control for Epileptic Patients

Updated on May 21, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle are all important.

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

Source

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.

TYPES OF SEIZURES

Status Epilepticus

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.

Brain Waves

Source

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 anti-epileptic 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.

Implantable Device

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

Summary

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 causing brain injury from falls were a real threat.

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

© 2012 Pamela Oglesby

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    One-life, Thank you so much for your comments.

  • One-life1 profile image

    Ar Az 

    5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    Great Article and very informative.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    CloudExploxer, The Cyberonics is the trade name for the device I wrote about, but there are other devices being tested also. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • CloudExplorer profile image

    Mike Pugh 

    5 years ago from New York City

    Hi Pamela, I had a very close family friend who had suffered from this disease and I had always wondered why he would fall the floor just as you wondered as a child.

    I was a child back then as well, and so it was pretty tramatic to watch, and after a while I couldn't watch him any longer because his seizures were pretty violent.

    This article is pretty extensive, and I enjoyed learning from reading it, and will bookmark it for a future read again. The interesting aspect was towards the end with the electrical stimulation treatment you pointed out there and the other cyber thingy.

    Overall superbly written hub, and its was very useful for me to understand more about the disease as I never really studied up on it all. Outstanding job! thumbs up and out.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Dianne, I am hoping so many will be helped with this new development. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    5 years ago

    Well done and very educational. My aunt was prone to seizures and I only wish this would have been available to here back then. Thanks for the news and hope.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Ruby, I sure hope it helps for people like your patientm. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    5 years ago from Southern Illinois

    This is very interesting Pam. I remember one man in particular who was my patient, he had continuous grand mal seizures that lasted for hours. He died. The reason for his seizures were unknown. I am so glad for the new technology, i'm sure it will save many lives. Thank you for keeping up with the new treatments and sharing with us.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    drbj, I am really impressed with this breathrough as so many cannot be helped with medication. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    5 years ago from south Florida

    Thanks for sharing the news, Pamela, of this new implantable device that can detect and prevent brain seizures in epileptic patients. What a tremendous, miraculous breakthrough.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Billy, I sure do to. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Fascinating information, Pamela! When I was a teen a friend of mine had a seizure and it was a frightening thing to see. I hope this research eases the journey for so many who suffer from epilepsy.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    eHealer, I am so glad you found the hub interesting and that you shared it. Thank you for your comments.

  • eHealer profile image

    Deborah 

    5 years ago from Las Vegas

    Hey Pamela, this is so interesting!! Just fascinating research, I have shared this with other colleagues and pinned it, FB as well. thanks for this great article!!

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