Brain Activity During A Seizure
An electroencephalogram is a recording of the brains electrical activity. The procedure is simple and painless. About 20 small adhesive electrodes are placed on the scalp, and the brains activity is recorded under normal conditions. Then the person is exposed to various stimuli, such as bright or flashing lights, to try to provoke a seizure. During a seizure, electrical activity in the brain accelerates, producing a jagged wave pattern. Such recordings of brain waves help identify a seizure disorder. Different types of seizures have different wave patterns.
EEG may be repeated because when done a second or even a third time, it may detect seizure activity and sometimes help identify the type of seizure. This information may have been missed the first time the test was done.
If the diagnosis is still uncertain, specialized tests, such as video-EEG monitoring, can be done at an epilepsy center.
For video-EEG monitoring, people are admitted to a hospital for 2 to 7 days, and EEG is done while they are video-taped. If people are taking an antiseizure drug, it is often stopped to increase the likelihood of a seizure. If a seizure occurs, doctors compare the EEG recording with the video recording of the seizure. They may then be able to identify the type of seizure and the area of the brain where the seizure began.
What Type Of Seizure Affects Both Sides Of The Brain
What type of Seizure affects both sides of your brain? This is a question that many people struggle to answer. While the medical community has some hard facts, they are not all that certain as to what causes these episodes. Some things scientists have been able to pin down are the stress hormone levels in your body. While this is most often found in individuals who have suffered from some kind of traumatic accident or suffered from extreme child abuse.
The symptoms usually vary depending on which side of the brain is affected. Many times you will see that the person has difficulty with remembering things, focusing and paying attention. There is also a difference in the severity of the attacks. While some can be quite mild others can be very severe. When it comes to the side of the brain which is affected, it is known as the temporal lobe.
The second side of the brain that is affected is called the parietal lobe. This side of the brain deals with logical and rational thought. Most often people find that patients suffering from what type of Seizure affectates both sides of the brain tend to have problems with short-term memory. They also seem to have difficulties with long term memory. Sometimes patients will have difficulty concentrating on a task after they have become distracted by what they were previously working on.
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Focal Seizures: What Happens
Focal seizures can start in one part of the brain and spread to other areas, causing symptoms that are mild or severe, depending on how much of the brain becomes involved.
At first, the person may notice minor symptoms, which is referred to as an aura. The person may have altered feelings or sense that something is about to happen . Some people experiencing an aura describe a rising sensation in the stomach similar to riding on a roller coaster.
As the seizure spreads across the brain, more symptoms appear. If the abnormal electrical activity involves a large area of the brain, the person may feel confused or dazed, or experience minor shaking, muscle stiffening, or fumbling or chewing motions. Focal seizures that cause altered awareness are called focal unaware seizures or complex partial seizures.
The electrical activity of the seizure can remain in one sensory or motor area of the brain, resulting in a focal aware seizure . The person is aware of what is happening, and may notice unusual sensations and movements.
Focal seizures can evolve into major events that spread to the entire brain and cause tonic-clonic seizures. These seizures are important to treat and prevent since they can cause respiratory problems and injuries.
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Changes With Your Muscles:
- Your muscles may become very rigid , tense, or tight feeling. This can happen to all or part of your body. If you are standing, you may fall like a tree trunk.
- Your muscles may become very limp. This is called low muscle tone. You may not be able to move, your neck and head may drop forward, or you may slump or fall forward. You can have low muscle tone in all or part of your body.
- You may have tremors , twitching or jerking movements that you cant control. This could happen on one or both sides of your face, arms, legs or your whole body. It could start in one area and then spread to other areas, or it could stay in one place.
- You may have something called repeated non-purposeful movements, or automatisms, in your face, arms, or legs. Some examples of these are:
- Lip-smacking or chewing movements
- Repeated movements of hands, like wringing your hands, playing with buttons or objects in your hands, or waving
- Dressing or undressing
- Walking or running
How Can Parents Help
If your child had a seizure, talk to the doctor about:
- any medicines your child should take
- any triggers that can make a seizure more likely
- any precautions your child should take while swimming or bathing
- whether your child should wear a medical ID bracelet
- whether your child needs to see a neurologist
- if its OK for your teen to drive
- how to keep your child safe during a seizure. Share this information with caregivers, coaches, and staff at your childs school.
If your child has another seizure, keep a record of:
- when it happened
- what happened right before the seizure
- what happened during and after the seizure
This information will help the doctor find whats causing the seizures and decide on the best treatment.
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S Of The Brain And Their Functions
The brain is divided into two halves called the right and left cerebral hemispheres:
- The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body.
- The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body.
Each part of the brain controls a different activity.
Frontal lobe- Controls muscle movements, thinking, and judgment.
Parietal lobe- Controls sense of touch, response to pain and temperature, and understanding of language.
Occipital lobe- Controls vision.
Temporal lobe- Controls hearing and memory.
Cerebellum – Controls balance.
Inflammatory Pathways And Epileptogenesis
How might inflammatory signaling upstream of neurodegeneration increase excitability and subsequent synchronicity? Immune responses in the brain are initiated, maintained and terminated by soluble effector proteins known as cytokines. Although a strong correlation between seizures and elevated inflammatory cytokines or their mRNA transcripts has been reported , emerging experimental evidence indicates that inflammatory cytokines can in turn alter neuronal excitability and synchronicity by modulating receptor function and expression . For example, the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF- has also been shown to promote the recruitment of AMPA receptors to postsynaptic membranes. Interestingly, the recruited receptors preferentially lack the GluR2 subunit and consequently the calcium conductance underlying EPSPs is increased. Additionally, TNF- causes endocytosis of GABAA receptors from the cellular surface, decreasing inhibitory synaptic strength . Taken together these findings demonstrate that TNF can have a profound impact on circuit homeostasis in a manner that can provoke the pathogenesis of seizures.
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When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone who suspects they have had a seizure should seek medical attention. A doctor can determine what caused the seizure, the type of seizure it was, and discuss appropriate next steps.
In many cases, epilepsy can be effectively treated and managed with seizure medication. Receiving an accurate and timely diagnosis is essential.
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Symptoms Of Glioblastomas And When To Call Your Doctor
A glioblastoma, otherwise known as a glioblastoma multiforme or GBM, is an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. It is the most common type of malignant tumor in adults most often in older adults, though it can occur at any age. A GBM is made up of cells called astrocytes that support nerve cells.
Glioblastomas can cause worsening of common, everyday symptoms, like headaches, nausea, and vomiting. This article outlines the various symptoms to look for and when you should see a doctor.
Early signs and symptoms of glioblastomas relate to the tumors location and its size, but can include:
If you or someone you know is experiencing one or many of the above symptoms consistently, its best to see your provider to determine if you need further diagnostic tests and procedures.
For information about Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy for brain tumors, visit GammaTile Therapy.
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How Can I Help My Child Live With Epilepsy
You can help your child with epilepsy manage his or her health:
If age-appropriate, make sure your child understands the type of seizure he or she has and the type of medicine that is needed.
Know the dose, time, and side effects of all medicines. Give your child medicine exactly as directed.
Talk with your childs healthcare provider before giving your child other medicines. Medicines for seizures can interact with many other medicines. This can cause the medicines to not work well, or cause side effects.
Help your child avoid anything that may trigger a seizure. Make sure your child gets enough sleep, as lack of sleep can trigger a seizure.
Make sure your child visits his or her healthcare provider regularly. Have your child tested as often as needed.
Keep in mind that your child may not need medicine for life. Talk with the healthcare provider if your child has had no seizures for 1 to 2 years.
If your childs seizures are controlled well, you may not need many restrictions on activities. Make sure your child wears a helmet for sports such as skating, hockey, and bike riding. Make sure your child has adult supervision while swimming.
Seizures may affect your childs ability to drive a vehicle. Talk with your childs healthcare provider about the laws in your state.
Girls with epilepsy should talk with their healthcare provider about the effect of seizures on birth control and family planning.
What Research Is Being Done On Epilepsy
While research has led to many advances in understanding and treating epilepsy, there are many unanswered questions about how and why seizures develop, how they can best be treated or prevented, and how they influence other brain activity and brain development. Researchers, many of whom are supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , are studying all of these questions. They also are working to identify and test new drugs and other treatments for epilepsy and to learn how those treatments affect brain activity and development.
The NINDS’s Anticonvulsant Screening Program studies potential new therapies with the goal of enhancing treatment for patients with epilepsy. Since it began in 1975, more than 390 public-private partnerships have been created. These partnerships have resulted in state-of-the-art evaluations of more than 25,000 compounds for their potential as antiepileptic drugs. This government-sponsored effort has contributed to the development of five drugs that are now approved for use in the United States. It has also aided in the discovery and profiling of six new compounds currently in various stages of clinical development. Besides testing for safer, more efficacious therapies, the Program is developing and validating new models that may one day find therapies that intervene in the disease process itself as well as models of resistant or refractory epilepsy.
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What Your Caregiver Should Do If You Are Having A Seizure
Family members and caregivers should watch closely during a seizure so they can describe what happened to your doctor and other health care providers. They should make a diary with the date, time of day, length of time, and a description of each seizure. Your doctor will need this information, along with the medicines you are taking to control your seizures. Most seizures are short and dont cause serious injuries. But its important for your caregivers to know what to do to keep you from hurting yourself during a seizure.
When someone is having a seizure, do the following:
Aspects Of The Brain Affected By Different Brain Seizure
The emergence of a brain seizure can be down to several reasons, but determining the exact cause has proven to be challenging. At least half of all patients display idiopathic seizures meaning the cause is unknown. Nevertheless, depending on the age of the patient, determining the trigger of a brain seizure can be narrowed down.
Generally, genetics plays a large role whether someone will experience a seizure in their lives or not. Pinpointing the specific genes which are responsible for the symptoms though is a struggle. This diagnosis is mostly very vague as the relationship between the genes in the brain and the nature of seizures is poorly understood.
What is known on the other hand is a prevalence of about 3 out of 10 patients having a change in brain structure which leads to some sort of brain seizure. Mostly this is the case for children born with alterations in brain regions. For the elderly, incidence such as a stroke is usually the cause of developing recurrent seizures.
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What If The Medications Do Not Work
Anti-seizure medicines usually work. But sometimes they cant stop your seizures. If you still have seizures after trying medicine, your doctor may send you to a comprehensive epilepsy center. At the center, you will see special seizure doctors called epileptologists or neurologists who specialize in epilepsy. These doctors may do brain wave tests and take a video of you during one of your seizures to help figure out whats causing them. This information may help your doctor decide what medicine will work best. It may also help the doctor figure out if other types of treatment will help with the seizures you are having.
To find a center near you, you can visit the websites of the Epilepsy Foundation and the American Epilepsy Society
What Treatments Are Available
Medication Your doctor may prescribe a drug called an antiepileptic drug, or anticonvulsant, used to treat seizures. These drugs are taken every day, sometimes several times a day, for as long as needed. The drugs help control the seizures. There are over two dozen medications for seizures. Common anticonvulsants include Dilantin , Tegretol , Depakote , and phenobarbital. Several recent medications, such as Lamictal , Neurontin , Cerebyx , Keppra , and Felbatol , have been approved since 1993 for the treatment of seizure disorders. These drugs may be used alone or in combination with each other when seizures are difficult to control.
Your doctor may prescribe anticonvulsants briefly after you have had brain surgery, head trauma, or a cerebral hemorrhage. If you have no seizures, the dosage of the drug is usually tapered until it is stopped within a short time. However, that time period may vary, based on your condition and specific problem.
As with all drugs there are side effects and drug interactions. Most common side effects include fatigue, drowsiness, nausea, and blurred vision. Also, these drugs may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.
Surgery If medications do not control your seizures, then surgery in the portion of the brain responsible for your seizures may treat the condition. If this is the case, you should discuss this option with your doctor .
The Brain Working Normally
The brain uses electrical signals to send messages throughout your body. Signals sent from different parts of your brain control different body functions. For instance, 1 part of your brain controls balance. Another part controls speech. A healthcare provider can record brain signals using a test called an electroencephalogram .
History And Physical Examination
An eyewitness report of the episode can be very helpful to doctors. An eyewitness can describe exactly what happened, whereas people who have an episode usually cannot. Doctors need to have an accurate description, including the following:
How fast the episode started
Whether it involved abnormal muscle movements , tongue biting, drooling, loss of bladder or bowel control, or muscle stiffening
How long it lasted
How quickly the person recovered
A quick recovery suggests fainting rather than a seizure. Confusion that lasts for many minutes to hours after consciousness is regained suggests a seizure.
Although eyewitnesses may be too frightened during the seizure to remember all details, whatever they can remember can help. If possible, how long a seizure lasts should be timed with a watch or other device. Seizures that last only 1 or 2 minutes can seem to go on forever.
Doctors also need to know what people experienced before the episode: whether they had a premonition or warning that something unusual was about to happen and whether anything, such as certain sounds or flashing lights, seemed to trigger the episode.
Doctors ask people about possible causes of seizures, such as the following:
A thorough physical examination is done. It may provide clues to the cause of the symptoms.
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Causes Of Seizure Disorders
Which causes are most common depend on when seizures start:
Before age 2: High fevers or temporary metabolic abnormalities, such as an abnormal blood level of sugar , calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, or sodium, can trigger one or more seizures. Seizures do not occur once the fever or abnormality resolves. If the seizures recur without such triggers, the cause is likely to be an injury during birth, a birth defect, or a hereditary metabolic abnormality or brain disorder.
2 to 14 years: Often, the cause is unknown .
Adults: A head injury, stroke, or tumor may damage the brain, causing a seizure. Alcohol withdrawal is a common cause of seizures. However, in about half of people in this age group, the cause is unknown.
Older adults: The cause may be a brain tumor or stroke.
Seizures with no identifiable cause are called idiopathic.
Conditions that irritate the brainsuch as injuries, certain drugs, sleep deprivation, infections, feveror that deprive the brain of oxygen or fuelsuch as abnormal heart rhythms, a low level of oxygen in the blood, or a very low level of sugar in the blood can trigger a single seizure whether a person has a seizure disorder or not. A seizure that results from such a stimulus is called a provoked seizure .
People with a seizure disorder are more likely to have a seizure when the following occur:
They are under excess physical or emotional stress.
They are intoxicated or deprived of sleep.
They have suddenly stopped drinking or using sedatives.