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Name: Epilepsy

Description: NINDS

Creator: Prajkta

This casebook is published and has been read 790 times.

This casebook has been marked as a RESOURCE. It is an information stub intended for cloning or bookmarking as the basis of a new, more complete casebook.

The author of this casebook has identified the following medical topics as being highly relevant to this casebook.

  • Absence Epilepsy -- A childhood seizure disorder characterized by rhythmic electrical brain discharges of generalized onset. Clinical features include a sudden cessation of ongoing activity usually without loss of postural tone. Rhythmic blinking of the eyelids or lip smacking frequently accompanies the SEIZURES. The usual duration is 5-10 seconds, and multiple episodes may occur daily. Juvenile absence epilepsy is characterized by the juvenile onset of absence seizures and an increased incidence of myoclonus and tonic-clonic seizures. (Menkes, Textbook of Child Neurology, 5th ed, p736)
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic -- An autosomal dominant inherited partial epilepsy syndrome with onset between age 3 and 13 years. Seizures are characterized by PARESTHESIA and tonic or clonic activity of the lower face associated with drooling and dysarthria. In most cases, affected children are neurologically and developmentally normal. (From Epilepsia 1998 39;Suppl 4:S32-S41)
  • EPILEPSY, JUVENILE MYOCLONIC -- A disorder characterized by the onset of myoclonus in adolescence, a marked increase in the incidence of absence seizures (see EPILEPSY, ABSENCE), and generalized major motor seizures (see EPILEPSY, TONIC-CLONIC). The myoclonic episodes tend to occur shortly after awakening. Seizures tend to be aggravated by sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption. Hereditary and sporadic forms have been identified. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p323)
  • Epilepsy -- A disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of paroxysmal brain dysfunction due to a sudden, disorderly, and excessive neuronal discharge. Epilepsy classification systems are generally based upon: (1) clinical features of the seizure episodes (e.g., motor seizure), (2) etiology (e.g., post-traumatic), (3) anatomic site of seizure origin (e.g., frontal lobe seizure), (4) tendency to spread to other structures in the brain, and (5) temporal patterns (e.g., nocturnal epilepsy). (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p313)
  • Epilepsy, Partial, Motor -- A simple partial seizure consisting of clonus or spasm of a muscle or muscle group; it may be single or in a continuous and repetitive series or may spread to adjacent muscles.
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy -- A clinically diverse group of epilepsy syndromes characterized either by myoclonic seizures or by myoclonus in association with other seizure types. Myoclonic epilepsy syndromes are divided into three subtypes based on etiology: familial, cryptogenic, and symptomatic (i.e., occurring secondary to known disease processes such as infections, hypoxic-ischemic injuries, trauma, etc.).
  • Benign neonatal epilepsy -- A condition marked by recurrent seizures that occur during the first 4-6 weeks of life despite an otherwise benign neonatal course. Autosomal dominant familial and sporadic forms have been identified. Seizures generally consist of brief episodes of tonic posturing and other movements, apnea, eye deviations, and blood pressure fluctuations. These tend to remit after the 6th week of life. The risk of developing epilepsy at an older age is moderately increased in the familial form of this disorder. (Neurologia 1996 Feb;11(2):51-5)
  • Myoclonic Epilepsies, Progressive -- A heterogeneous group of primarily familial disorders characterized by myoclonic seizures, tonic-clonic seizures, ataxia, progressive intellectual deterioration, and neuronal degeneration. These include LAFORA DISEASE; MERRF SYNDROME; NEURONAL CEROID-LIPOFUSCINOSIS; sialidosis (see MUCOLIPIDOSES), and UNVERRICHT-LUNDBORG SYNDROME.
  • Epilepsy, Generalized -- Recurrent conditions characterized by epileptic seizures which arise diffusely and simultaneously from both hemispheres of the brain. Classification is generally based upon motor manifestations of the seizure (e.g., convulsive, nonconvulsive, akinetic, atonic, etc.) or etiology (e.g., idiopathic, cryptogenic, and symptomatic). (From Mayo Clin Proc, 1996 Apr;71(4):405-14)
Notes

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain sometimes signal abnormally. In epilepsy, the normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. Epilepsy is a disorder with many possible causes. Anything that disturbs the normal pattern of neuron activity - from illness to brain damage to abnormal brain development - can lead to seizures. Epilepsy may develop because of an abnormality in brain wiring, an imbalance of nerve signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters, or some combination of these factors. Having a seizure does not necessarily mean that a person has epilepsy. Only when a person has had two or more seizures is he or she considered to have epilepsy. EEGs and brain scans are common diagnostic test for epilepsy.

Is there any treatment?

Once epilepsy is diagnosed, it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. For about 80 percent of those diagnosed with epilepsy, seizures can be controlled with modern medicines and surgical techniques. Some antiepiletic drugs can interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. In 1997, the FDA approved the vagus nerve stimulator for use in people with seizures that are not well-controlled by medication.

What is the prognosis?

Most people with epilepsy lead outwardly normal lives. While epilepsy cannot currently be cured, for some people it does eventually go away. Most seizures do not cause brain damage. It is not uncommon for people with epilepsy, especially children, to develop behavioral and emotional problems, sometimes the consequence of embarrassment and frustration or bullying, teasing, or avoidance in school and other social setting. For many people with epilepsy, the risk of seizures restricts their independence (some states refuse drivers licenses to people with epilepsy) and recreational activities. People with epilepsy are at special risk for two life-threatening conditions: status epilepticus and sudden unexplained death. Most women with epilepsy can become pregnant, but they should discuss their epilepsy and the medications they are taking with their doctors. Women with epilepsy have a 90 percent or better chance of having a normal, healthy baby.

Bookmarks The following information, which has been distilled by the casebook author from this and other websites is particularly relevant to this casebook.
Bookmarks - Web
Web Page Notes Concepts
 Epilepsy Information Page: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (Epilepsy)
 
 Epilepsy: MedlinePlus (Epilepsy)
 
 The Epilepsy Institute (Epilepsy)
 
 Pediatric Epilepsy Research Support Information Camps (Epilepsy)
 

This web-site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your doctor. It should not to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.