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Epileptic Student Found Dead At OU Hostel

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Times of India
17 September 2010
Hyderabad, India

A 23–year–old student, Sravanti, died at Osmania University Ladies’ Hostel due to epileptic seizure (fits) in the early hours of Thursday.

Sravanti of Boath in Adilabad district finished M Sc in Zoology from the University College for Women, Koti, recently. She then joined B Ed in a private college located at Banjara Hills. Sravanti was temporarily staying at her friend Swaroopa’s room at the OU hostel. Swaroopa also hails from Adilabad. Sravanti’s two other acquaintances, Jyothi and Soujanya, both OU students, also stay in the same room. Planning to move out within a week, Sravanti came to stay with her friends.

Sravanti was epileptic and her roommates were unaware of it. She was fine till late Wednesday night and the three girls even attended Ganesh puja before dinner. At about 12 midnight, they went to bed.

The incident came to light at about 6 am on Thursday, when Jyothi woke up. She noticed froth coming out of Sravanti’s mouth and tried to wake her up. As she did not respond, with the help of other students, Sravanti was rushed to Durgabai Deshmukh Hospital, where she was declared brought dead, OU inspector B Anjaiah said.


`Both My Twins Have Epilepsy. I Can Pay For The Treatment Of Only One'

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Indian Express
02 September 2010
By Samarpita banerjee

City Anchor A City–based Foundation, Sanvedana Epilepsy Support Group Comes Up With A Project To Help Poor People With Epilepsy
Members of Sanvedana interact with people suffering from epilepsyMembers of Sanvedana interact with people suffering from epilepsy
IT was when a father of two eighteen–year–old twins approached the foundation saying that he cannot afford the expenses of the medicines and only treat one of his sons for epilepsy that members of the Sanvedana Epilepsy Support Group felt that they needed to do something to help poor people. Today, they are coming out with a project under which well–wishers of the foundation will adopt one such poor patient, and finance his medical expenses for a year.

Yashoda Wakankar, who started the foundation said that the incident of the twins shocked her and the other members of the foundation and forced them to think of an alternative. Wakankar started the charitable trust in 2004.

“We were shocked to know that a father could treat just one of his sons while both of them were suffering from the disorder. He said he could not help it as he works as a farmer in a village and thus cannot bear the expense that treating both his sons would bring on him. Thus he treated the son who was physically more fit and could help him in the farm," said Wakankar.


Idiopathic Epilepsy Patients Have Higher Rate Of Remission

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DNA India
14 June 2010
Washington, DC USA

Researchers have confirmed that children with idiopathic new–onset epilepsy have a significantly higher rate of remission than those with remote symptomatic epilepsy.

Epilepsy is caused by two or more unprovoked seizures, and the syndromes may be either idiopathic (of unknown cause) or symptomatic of underlying brain damage or disease.

In general, idiopathic forms have a better prognosis in terms of both seizure control and eventual remission than do symptomatic forms.

"Knowledge of the long–term outcome of childhood epilepsy is an important factor in treatment decisions," explained study leader Ada Geerts.

"The course of epilepsy is in our view important to investigate, because intra– and inter–individual variation may be considerable. Periods of remission and relapse may interchange which may influence our interpretation of the results of prognostic studies, advice to patients, treatment strategies, and timing of referral for surgery," he added.

Since the long–range course of epilepsy is more difficult to describe, the research team evaluated the course and outcome of childhood–onset epilepsy in 413 children over a 15–year period.


Epilepsy Drug Linked To Serious Birth Defects

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09 June 2010

Taking valproic acid ups risk of brain, heart, limb defects in babies, review shows
Epilepsy Drug Linked To Serious Birth Defects
The offspring of women who took the epilepsy drug valproic acid during the first trimester of pregnancy are much more likely to have serious births defects affecting the brain, heart and limbs, a new study finds.

Babies whose mothers took valproic acid during the first trimester were 12.7 times more likely to have spina bifida, in which the spinal cord and backbone fail to develop or close properly, compared to babies whose mothers did not take the drug.

Babies whose mothers took valproic acid were also 2.5 times more likely to have an atrial septal defect (a heart defect); about five times as likely to have a cleft palate (a defect of the upper lip and roof of the mouth) or hypospadias (a penis abnormality); more than twice as likely to be born with an extra digit on the hand (polydactyly); and nearly seven times more likely to have craniosynostosis (premature fusion of the skull during fetal development that restricts skull and brain growth).


Uncontrolled Brain Activity Linked to Epilepsy

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Washington, DC: An American study has shed new light on the mechanism behind epilepsy attacks in the brain. The study has appeared in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Neuroscientist Douglas A Coulter, the co-author of the research study, from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said, "By better understanding the detailed events that occur in epilepsy, we are gaining knowledge that could ultimately lead to better treatments for epilepsy, and possibly for other neurological diseases.

"Temporal lobe epilepsy, in particular, often resists current treatments."

For the research, Coulter and colleagues, collaborated with a team led by co-senior author Philip G Haydon, of Tufts University School of Medicine.

In epilepsy, excessive signalling between neurons, a major type of brain cell that communicates electrical signals across gaps called synapses, can lead to epileptic seizures.

However, another class of brain cells called glia can regulate those signals. Among the glia are star-shaped cells called astrocytes-the particular focus of this research.

Haydon, the Annetta and Gustav Grisard professor and chair of the department of neuroscience at Tufts, said: "This study shows that changes in astrocytes are key to brain dysfunction and opens the potential for novel therapeutic strategies in epilepsy.

The researchers focused on an abnormal condition called reactive astrocytosis, known to occur in many neurological diseases.

The astrocytes swell to a large size and change expression levels of a number of proteins. The impact of reactive astrocytosis on brain function is difficult to investigate because it usually occurs in the context of brain inflammation and abnormal changes in surrounding cells.

The researchers solved this problem by using a virus to selectively cause reactive astrocytosis without triggering broader inflammation and brain injury, in a mouse model.

They were able to focus on how the altered astrocytes affected specific synapses in neurons in the brain's hippocampus.

Studying the neuronal circuitry in brain slices from the mice, the study team found that changes in reactive astrocytes profoundly reduced the inhibitory control over brain signals.

Healthy brain function requires a delicate balance between excitation - the firing of brain signals - and inhibition, which limits those signals.

An enzyme called glutamine synthetase is a key actor in a biological cycle that regulates the balance.

The current study found that reactive astrocytosis reduces the supply of that enzyme, which in turn decreases inhibition and allows neurons to fire out of control.

Coulter said, "We already know that inhibition is a powerful force in the brain.

"In epilepsy, inhibition is not working properly, and uncontrolled signaling leads to epileptic seizures. Because both disrupted inhibition and reactive astrocytosis are known to occur in other neurologic conditions, including many psychiatric disorders, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease, our findings may have wide implications."

Significantly, the researchers were able to dampen neuronal excitability in the animals' brain slices by adding glutamine, an amino acid that is depleted as a result of reduced glutamine synthetase activity.

Disclaimer: The news story on this page is the copyright of the cited publication. This has been reproduced here for visitors to review, comment on and discuss. This is in keeping with the principle of ‘Fair dealing’ or ‘Fair use’. Visitors may click on the publication name, in the news story, to visit the original article as it appears on the publication’s website.

Source: DNA

Silk Brain Implant Could Aid Those with Spinal Injuries, Epilepsy

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A prototype neural electrode array wrapped onto a model of the brain A prototype neural electrode array wrapped onto a model of the brain
Washington: A brain implant made partly of silk can melt onto the surface of the brain, providing an “intimate” connection for recording signals, said researchers.

Tests of their device showed the thin, flexible electrodes recorded signals from a cat’s brain more accurately than thicker, stiff devices.

Such devices might help people with epilepsy, spinal cord injuries and even help operate artificial arms and legs, the researchers report in the journal Nature Materials.

John Rogers of the University of Illinois, Urbana and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania and Tufts University in Boston made the electrode arrays using protein from silk and thin metal electrodes.

The silk is biocompatible and watersoluble, dissolving into the brain and leaving the electrodes draped over its contours, the researchers reported.

They tested them on cats who were anesthetised but whose eyes were functioning. The electrodes recorded the signals from the eyes of the cats as they were shown visual images.

“These implants have the potential to maximise the contact between electrodes and brain tissue, while minimising damage to the brain,” said Walter Koroshetz of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, which helped pay for the study.

“They could provide a platform for a range of devices with applications in epilepsy, spinal cord injuries and other neurological disorders.”

For instance, such a sensitive electrode could detect a seizure as it starts and deliver pulses to counter it. Brain signals might be routed to prosthetics for people with spinal cord and other injuries. Silk is also transparent, strong and flexible and it is possible to control the rate at which it dissolves.

Disclaimer: The news story on this page is the copyright of the cited publication. This has been reproduced here for visitors to review, comment on and discuss. This is in keeping with the principle of ‘Fair dealing’ or ‘Fair use’. Visitors may click on the publication name, in the news story, to visit the original article as it appears on the publication’s website.

Source: Times of India

Best Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Identified

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Doctors at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital have claimed that ethosuximide, one of the oldest available anti-seizure medications, is the most effective treatment for childhood absence epilepsy.

The experts reported the finding in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

To come up with the conclusion, the study group compared three medications typically used to treat the most common childhood epilepsy syndrome, childhood absence epilepsy, which is characterised by frequent non-convulsive seizures that cause the child to stop what he or she is doing and stare for up to 30 seconds at time.

Prior to this study, there was no definitive evidence on which drug worked best.

"Much of our scientific understanding of childhood epilepsy care today comes from historical experience or studies involving adult patients with related, but not identical, conditions," explained Colin Roberts, MD, OHSU Doernbecher's principal investigator for the study, assistant professor of pediatrics and neurology, and director of OHSU Doernbecher's Pediatric Epilepsy Programme.

"This study is an important milestone in our understanding of childhood absence epilepsy. Never before have we been able to document in such a comprehensive, scientific fashion the best options to treat children with this condition."

The study group enrolled 453 children newly diagnosed with childhood absence epilepsy from July 2004 to October 2007. Study participants were randomly assigned to ethosuximide, valproic acid or lamotrigine. Drug doses were incrementally increased until the child was seizure-free. After 16 weeks of therapy, the researchers found.


Breast Feeding can Help Prevent Epilepsy

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Breast Feeding can Help Prevent Epilepsy
Immediate breast feeding to newly born babies, especially those born with low weight, is vital in preventing childhood epilepsy and other forms of brain diseases, a recent study has said.When new born babies are not fed within few hours of birth due to various reasons, they are exposed to low blood glucose which leads to convulsions on the second or third day. “It was observed that after the babies were discharged, they developed epilepsy in the first few years which was often resistant to treatment and also had other major issues like mental retardation, autism, learning problems and visual impairment,” said Vrajesh Udani, Head, Child Development department of P D Hinduja hospital. The study, published in the journal ‘Indian Paediatrics’, which was carried out to ascertain the cause of epilepsy in 100 children, found low blood glucose condition in the brain due to non-availability of mothers‘ milk in the first few hours, he said.The babies developed symptoms like irritability, lethargy and even convulsions on the second or third day, said Udani and his colleagues P Munotam M Ursekar and S Gupta.

Disclaimer: The news story on this page is the copyright of the cited publication. This has been reproduced here for visitors to review, comment on and discuss. This is in keeping with the principle of ‘Fair dealing’ or ‘Fair use’. Visitors may click on the publication name, in the news story, to visit the original article as it appears on the publication’s website.

Source: Times of India

Real Life: Epilepsy-I use to have Seven Seizures a Day

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To mark Epilepsy Awareness Week, Olivia Coughlan tells Gemma O’Doherty how she finally overcame the illness which blighted her childhood
For almost 30 years, epilepsy played havoc with Olivia Coughlan’s life. One day, when she was six months’ old, she started shaking uncontrollably in her mother’s arms. By the time she began school, she was having up to seven seizures a day.

“I always knew when the fits were coming but there was nothing I could do,” she recalls.

“They’d start off with a desperate pain in my stomach, then I’d see stars in my eyes, and pins and needles would shoot down my arms and hands. Then, the blackout came. It was terrifying. I used to wish myself dead.”

Growing up in Waterford, Olivia found herself the victim of schoolyard slurs.

“They would call me schizo and I got a terrible mocking in class. I tried my best to keep it from people but it’s not something you can hide when the ambulance is arriving at the school gate to pick you up all the time. One day I bit through a nun’s finger in the playground during a fit. I never knew what was coming next.”

Between seizures, Olivia found it impossible to focus on her schoolwork and spent her time daydreaming through class. She was also on a cocktail of drugs as doctors struggled to stabilise her condition.

“I think, like many people with severe epilepsy, I just went into a world of my own,” she says. “I was put on dozens of tablets, so half the time I was drugged going into school. The side effects were brutal. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t concentrate on anything.”

As Olivia got older, the seizures intensified.

“I remember one day we were at a Beat in the Street gig and a laser beam caught my eye. I had a ferocious seizure and stopped breathing. Luckily my brother was there and called an ambulance just in time.”

“After that, I got to a point where I thought I would have to end it all.”

Most Irish people affected by epilepsy can control their symptoms with anti–epileptic drugs (AEDs), but Olivia couldn’t. Her only chance of a normal life was to undergo radical brain surgery.

Struggle: Olivia Coughlan, pictured with her son Aaron, underwent radical brain surgery to stop her epileptic seizures Struggle: Olivia Coughlan, pictured with her son Aaron, underwent radical brain surgery to stop her epileptic seizures
Five years ago, when she was 27, her consultant at Beaumont Hospital suggested operating to remove the abnormal tissue on her brain that was causing her seizures.

Olivia left hospital nine days after the surgery and hasn’t looked back since. In five years, she has not had one seizure. Today, the mother–of–one is planning to make up for her lost years and go back to school.



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