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Epilepsy

A medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions.
Allyson Torres Into to Special Education Prof. Lara A.A.C.C Spring Semester

What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a medical disorder characterized by 2 or more seizures. A seizure is an occurrence of a brief strong surge of electrical activity that affects all or part of the brain. Neurons in the brain pass on electrical charges through axons as a form of communication when processing information. When too many neurons become excited by the charge at once a seizure can create an electrical storm. This then throws off the other receptors and inhibitors in the brain causing brief miscalculations and malfunctions in movements, sensations, awareness, or behavior, and once the storm has passed the brain returns to a normal state. There are many different epilepsy syndromes defined by similar characteristics, type of seizures, when in life the person started to develop them and response to the treatment given to address the malfunctioning brain. Here are the some of the different types of seizures

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Epilepsy Facts 2.7 Million Americans have epilepsy 468,000 are children 0-17 yrs. 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy 1 in 10 people will have a seizure. 3rd most common neurological disorder in the U.S.

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Primary Generalized Seizures - Absence - atonic - tonic-clonic - myoclonic Partial Seizures - simple - complex Non-epileptic seizures Gelastic and Dacrystic seizures Status Epilepticus

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Diagnosis Personal history of neurological recognized behaviors Physical exam show problem in the brain EEG measures brain wavescharts voltages through a time span MRI /CT scanshows the structure of the brain and abnormalities.

What may occur during a seizure (depending on the type)


Unaware, loose consciousness, fall down Clench up, teeth clench, may bite cheek or tongue (tonic phase)

What causes Epilepsy?


There is no specific cause for epilepsy, in fact, in about 7 out of 10 people with epilepsy, no cause can be found. For the rest it can be a vast number of thingsanything really that causes a difference in the way that the brain works, a head injury, lack of oxygen during birth, brain tumors or genetic conditions. To say that there is a cause of epilepsy is not an accurate statement since there is no specific thing concretely causing the series of seizures. There can be many different causes and this is the outcome of a brain that functions abnormally due to any number of reasons.

Jerking of the extremities (clonic phase) Blank out (absence seizure) Not painful, may loose control of bladder

Epilepsy

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Treatments The decision to treat becomes a highly individualized one.


There are multiple factors that lead to the decision to treat or not to treat. The fist is to determine what happened, whether a seizure actually took place, of what type and duration it was, the possible cause and the future prognosis. Then the decision comes down to whether to treat the underlying condition or treat the symptoms by prescribing anti-seizure medication. When determining to treat the underlying cause (if any) or the seizure symptoms the physician weighs the benefit/risk ratio for each individual case. Risks of treatments are weighed against risk of the seizures. There are also treatment plans that focus on controlling the seizure through diet and exposure to known triggers. According to one article from JAMA Pediatrics there has been vast success with dietary treatments such as the classic ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet, and the low glycemic index therapy, however as with any treatment of epilepsy, treatment must be based on a case by case basis. Surgery may also be considered as a treatment or even a cure, however is rarely used for lack of definite characteristics of the nature of epilepsy. Surgery is only an option when the patient has clear defined epileptogenic zone (the cortex where the seizures originate). Neurostimulation is a possible treatment for the type of siezures that are resistant to other forms of treatments. The most well-known is the vagus nerve stimulator (VNS). A device is implanted under the skin to deliver a current at regular intervals to abort seizers. Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs) are another option that may be considered only to suppress seizures. Most of the medications make brain cells fire less rapidly. There can be side effects and the medications are to be monitored with attention.

Education and Epilepsy


Epilepsy is not an abnormal behavior but an unexpected symptom itself. In saying this there is not much an educator can do but be aware of the fact that someone may have Epilepsy. By being aware a overseer can know how to handle the situation if it arises. To stay back and let the seizure carry out. The only time to intervene is in the case the person may injure themselves or someone else. The seizure will take its course just notify the event and tell someone what exactly happened. If it is the first time a child or someone is having a seizure try to distinguish if there was something that could have triggered it and notify someone. Something to be aware of is how the person/ child is after the event of a seizure. Some may be agitated, embarrassed, drowsy, confused or depressed. In these cases one may want to comfort them, make them comfortable and help them or sometimes it is best to leave the individual alone. Having Epilepsy does not effect a persons lifestyle they can live just as normal as anyone else. Overtime they learn to cope and work through an episode and will overcome in the end.

Witch Trials

History
In medieval times seizures were seen as punishment of the gods. During the witch trial period it was also confused with demon possession. Which of course we know now is all ridiculous.

Resources and More Information


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