Effect Of Epilepsy On The Brain And The Nervous System
Epilepsy is a neurological and physical condition, meaning that it affects the brain and the nervous system. The brain is the control center of the body that regulates voluntary and involuntary responses. There is a normal electrical function constantly firing throughout the brain by communication of nerve cells. When a seizure occurs, the brain is temporarily interrupted by a spur of abnormal electrical signals. It is similar to cars driving on a freeway, getting from point A to point B; if there is an earthquake, the stream of driving cars gets interrupted, and damage is done to the freeway and surrounding areas. There are 40 types of seizures that affect different regions of the brain and they do not all-cause shaking, convulsion, and unconsciousness. For each seizure type, there are certain stimulants that trigger the given effects. These triggers can range from flashing lights, geometric patterns, certain foods, stress, lack of sleep, substance use, and more. The different types of epilepsy are due to varying underlying causes. Genes play a big role in the development of epilepsy as it can be an inherited genetic tendency or a mutation in the person’s genes. Traumatic brain injuries have been linked to the development of epilepsy, but research has found that even if seizures begin after an injury or a structural change to the brain, those who experience seizures already had some level of genetic likelihood. Epilepsy may be attributed to the combination of inherited genes from your parents and/or some degree of brain injury. Genetic conditions such as neurofibromatosis and tuberous sclerosis, which are structural conditions, affect the brain by producing growths on nerves and brain structures, causing another factor in seizure development.
Seizures occur when the excitatory and inhibitory circuits within the brain are imbalanced. These circuits create a positive or a negative change in brain activity, and when they are being thrown off their regular pathways it causes abnormal functioning within the brain. When epilepsy is diagnosed, physicians’ standard and most probable form of treatment is medication. Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) work to decrease excitation (positive changes) or increase inhibition (negative changes). These prescriptions work to control the seizures and as symptomatic relief to its effects, but they do not cure epilepsy. Since they do not act as a cure, they are typically prescribed as lifelong medications with adverse effects. AEDs have negative properties that limit their effectiveness due to the difficulties they cause for patient management. Long-term use of a variety of AEDs causes withdrawal symptoms, harmful interactions with other drugs, adverse effects, as well as an economic hardship. During clinical trials for AEDs, where the drug developers test the effects of their drug, there were no observations of the rare, yet severe side effects that these medications can cause. The clinical trials did not consider or recognize that patients with epilepsy take these prescriptions for several years, or even lifelong. The long-term adverse effects went unnoticed because the trials did not mimic the experience and duration of an actual patient. Every medication comes with its personal set of side effects, but many reactions found with long-term use of AEDs were unexpected and extreme. Effects have been seen to create unpredictable moods, abnormal behavior, and alter cognitive function. In more detrimental findings, these drugs can cause visual changes, aplastic anemia, hepatitis, liver failure, pancreatitis, and more. These conditions pose a major health risk as aplastic anemia is damage to bone cell growth, hepatitis/liver failure is when your liver gets inflamed and then shuts down entirely, and pancreatitis is also inflammation to a major organ. Living with these effects on top of the condition of epilepsy is very difficult as far as patient management goes.
I believe that alternative treatments for epilepsy are promising therapies that have proven to show efficacy, and there should be more efforts for patient awareness and education. Often, patients with epilepsy have been prescribed medication or several medications and are not told of their method of action, adverse effects, or general toll they make take on the body. My sister has epilepsy, specifically convulsive seizures or grand mal seizures. This means the electronic pathways that are affected instantly involves the whole brain, causing the person to immediately lose consciousness and seize for 1-5 minutes. She reached a point where she was taking twelve prescriptions a day to manage the seizures and the many side effects, and problems only continued to occur. Against the doctor’s orders, she quit the medications and tried alternative therapies such as meditation, more exercise, a change in diet, and cannabidiol (CBD). Medical cannabis has 85 different chemical compounds which are called cannabinoids. The most common component of the makeup is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but the anticonvulsant effects and properties are derived from cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabidiol targets and interacts with specific channels and receptors in the brain, which regulates the transmission and electrical, firing. The Epilepsy Foundation stated the FDA approval for CBD as a treatment option after successful clinicals trials were reported.
Relaxation techniques have been shown to decrease seizure frequency and improve the quality of life. The goal of this therapy is to teach the patient to recognize any kind of pre-seizure signs or activity and then apply taught relaxation techniques. This therapy effectively reduces seizure rates by direct cause, as well as indirectly improving seizure control through better sleep.
Herbal medicine is also another successful complementation therapy for epilepsy. Studies published in Chinese medical literature dictated two remedies that were beneficial to intractable (uncontrolled) epilepsy. One remedy was a makeup of thirteen different herbs, that imitated similar effects to phenobarbitone, an AED. This remedy was given to 100 children over the span of 8 months. Another study administered zhenxianling, a specialized herb, to 239 patients over two years. Seizure frequency was reduced by more than 75% in two-thirds of the patients from these studies. I believe that western medicine should take action to conduct more research on the effects of alternative therapies to epilepsy such as techniques, lifestyle changes, and eastern medicine as a more natural, and less invasive approach to epilepsy control.
It is imperative to differentiate between epilepsy and seizures; epilepsy is a complex neurological condition which increases the susceptibility of individuals having gratuitous and recurring seizures. A seizure is warranted when normal electrical brain function is temporarily interrupted by burst of abnormal electrical signals. (University, 2015) Fundamentally not all seizures are due to epilepsy however, epilepsy is characterised by recurrent seizures. Epilepsy affects 450,000 people in the UK which is approximately 0.5-1% of the population. The neurons in our brain...
Introductions Epilepsy is considered one of the most important chronic neurological disorder (1,2), characterized by synchronous recurrent unprovoked seizures due to uncontrolled electrical discharges from the brain neurons (2, 3). Infections either parasitic, viral or bacterial and birth trauma are suggested to be some factors contributing to the disease (2, 4, 5). The disease has high prevalence estimated that about 50 millions people affected worldwide (6, 7, 8). The global burden of the disease is about 1% in both industrialized...
Imagine if a brain can primarily run on fatty foods such as bacon and cheese, well believe it or not a brain can most definitely only run on foods such as that nature. It may be hard to believe but the ketogenic diet is one of many diets that aren’t well known by the average human. Due to the fact that few people know about it, they do not know of the benefits that come along with doing such a...
Abstract Cannabis sativa (C. sativa) or medical marijuana, is the entirety of the plant and the internal chemicals. We have cannabinoid receptors within our cells, which allows the cannabis substances to act in order to cause effects. The two major chemicals are Tetrahydrocannabinol, the causation of the psychoactive “high” effects, and Cannabidiol, which has shown positive effects on some functions of the body, and would be the one primary one to reduce of seizures. Epilepsy is referred to as being...
In recent years there has been a boom in the variety of healthy fad diets , for the better, since the same form of eating, no matter how healthy it may be, does not always work equally well throughout the world. Among these diets, the famous Mediterranean Diet continues to stand out , which together with the DASH Diet continue to be the winners in the Harvard University ranking . On the other hand, there is the Paleo Diet ,...
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder that affects people of all ages. It is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. A person with epilepsy experiences a sudden episode of seizures, which may include sensory disturbance, unconsciousness, and repetitive muscle jerking (Wlodarczyk et al., 2012). The treatment is the daily intake of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) regimen. More than 90% of pregnancies proceeds without complications in women with epilepsy, although there is the slight increase in adverse effect outcome...
The use of drug nanocarriers in pharmacoresistant epilepsy is potentially a very useful tool that can be applied to overcome the drug delivery problem. Developing this technology requires a multidisciplinary approach involving the collaborative work of nanotechnology and pharmacology specialists. However, development of these models requires prolonged experimental periods and low (20 percent or less) percentage of pharmacoresistant subjects obtained (127). Repeated administration of 3-mercaptopropionic acid or pentylentetrazol (47, 128) is a short-term alternative for obtaining animals with overexpression of...
Introduction Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder, is one of the biggest health issue in the world, as it affect people from all races and in all age groups. Epilepsy can simply be defined as an illness of repetitive uncontrollable seizures(Banerjee et al.,2009) or in a much scientific manner as “a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain sometimes signal abnormally causing strange sensations, emotions, and behaviour, or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss...
Despite the significant clinical and therapeutic progress for centuries, people with epilepsy continue to suffer from discrimination due to the idea of epilepsy is caused by spirits or divine experiences. Epilepsy is one of the most common serious brain disorders but is often surrounded by prejudice and myth, which can be overcome only with enormous difficulties. Epilepsy was frequently documented in ancient times. Throughout the ages, in different parts of the world and in different cultures, epilepsy has been associated...
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