What about the words used to describe epileptic seizures? The word ’seizure’ is that most commonly used by neurologists for all types, but, depending upon the manifestation of the seizure, they may call them convulsions. Often they will use the words employed by their patients—for example, fit, turn, attack or dizzy spell. People who have [...]
In someone with established epilepsy, the EEG between seizures may also show abnormal discharges which are not apparent to the doctor in terms of observed behaviour, nor are they associated with any change perceived by the person with epilepsy. Although the abnormal discharges of the EEG are clearly a fragment, as it were, of a [...]
One of the ways in which events can go wrong is when a nerve cell loses some of its inputs from other cells because of damage to these other nerve cells. If inhibitory terminals are lost, then the cell will become over-excitable, and begin to switch on, or fire inappropriately, driving other nerve cells with [...]
The human brain contains about 100 000 million nerve cells, each of which is connected to many others—perhaps as many as 50 000 others. The brain is the organ of our thinking and of our memory. It integrates information from the outside world and so allows us to perceive objects and events around us. It [...]
The treatment of infantile spasms is unlike that of other epilepsies. Treatment usually consists of giving a steroid, either by intramuscular injection, or by mouth. The drug which is given by injection is called ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone), and by mouth, prednisolone. The injections are usually given once (rarely twice) a day for two weeks until [...]
Apart from listening carefully to the story given by the person and any eyewitness, what else will the doctor do?
She will examine her patient not only to make sure that everything is generally well-for example, that breathing is unobstructed—but she will also ascertain if there are any focal (localized) neurological [...]