Entries in Epileptic Seizures (2)


'Breaking Dawn' Seizures Spark Warning

Andrew Cooper© 2011 Summit Entertainment, LLC.(LANDOVER, Md.) -- The Epilepsy Foundation of America is using Facebook to warn its 11,000 followers about the Breaking Dawn birth scene's seizure-inducing effects.

"If you have photosensitive seizures, it may be best for you to avoid seeing this movie," reads a post on the non-profit's page.

Not since the Pokemon incident of 1997, in which more than 700 Japanese cartoon viewers were hospitalized, have strobe-light-induced seizures garnered so much attention.

At least nine people have reported suffering seizures during the bloody scene that boasts flashing white light. Those flashes, at just the right frequency, can cause neurons in the brain to start firing in synch -- a deviation from their usual chaos.

"When the brain is functioning normally, there are neurons firing all over the place," said Dr. Dan Lowenstein, director of the University of California, San Francisco Epilepsy Center. "During a seizure, there's an abnormal synchronization that we don't usually have."

That synchrony, which starts in the visual part of the brain, can quickly spread, causing a seizure.

"We routinely flash lights in front of patients' eyes during electroencephalogram or EEG testing because it's known that sometimes flashing lights can trigger seizures," said Dr. Robert Laureno, chair of neurology at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

The blood may even be causing the apparent seizures, according to Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

"For some people, fainting mimics seizures," said Devinsky. "And for a very small minority of people, fainting can induce a full-blown seizure."

In response to the Epilepsy Association's Facebook warning, one woman said her epileptic daughter felt nauseous during the scene. Other people with epilepsy said the scene didn't affect them at all.

People with epilepsy are particularly prone to seizures. For them, many things can trigger the abnormal brain firing, including fatigue, alcohol, infections and certain medications. In extremely rare cases, activities like math and reading as well as certain songs or voices have triggered seizures.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Can Surgery Stop Epileptic Seizures?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Epilepsy sufferers living with a certain form of the disease may find hope in a new study that found surgery is effective at stopping seizures that can't be controlled by medication.

The study, published in next week's edition of The Lancet, evaluated the outcome of epilepsy surgery for 615 adults with refractory epilepsy, the type that can't be controlled by medication. Researchers led by Jane de Tisi of University College London found that 52 percent of patients were free of major seizures five years after surgery and 47 percent were free of them 10 years after surgery. About 30 percent of the study participants no longer needed any medication to control seizures.

Patients who had temporal lobe surgery were less likely to experience a recurrence of seizures than patients who had procedures in other parts of the brain.

Neurologists not involved in the research said the study is one of the only ones that followed patients for that long a period of time. It is important work, they added, because it highlights how effective surgery can be for adults and children with medically refractory epilepsy.

Although they believe the surgery is effective in controlling seizures, many seizure patients don't elect to have an operation. Some study patients lived with their uncontrolled seizures for more than 20 years.

In a comment accompanying the study, Drs. Ahmed-Ramadan Sadek and William Peter Gray of Southampton University Hospitals wrote that while the research validates epilepsy surgery as an effective treatment option that's been used for the past two decades, the process still needs improvement.

They added that there should be a better way to identify which patients will benefit from surgery, and there should be improvements in the surgery itself that will lead to better success rates.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio