Wednesday February 23, 2011
A study recently conducted in Denmark found that breastfed babies might have fewer seizures during their childhood. The longer they are breastfed also decreases their risk.
The researchers tracked a group of 70,000 Danish children for about 12 years. The kids who were breastfed for their first 3 months had a one in 135 chance of developing epilepsy. Those that were breastfed for 6 months had a one in 150 chance. The incidence dropped even lower for those breastfed for at least 9 months, with a one in 200 chance.
Although this is a new study that requires more testing, there is no harm in breastfeeding to prevent seizures if this connection is accurate. In general, breast milk has beneficial health aspects, providing essential nutrients for baby's brains. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for six months, as well as providing it along with solid foods until the child is 2 years old.
Wednesday March 17, 2010
In a seven to five decision, a panel of neurology experts are recommending a the Food and Drug Administration approve Medtronic's deep brain stimulation device to reduce seizures in epilepsy patients.
But the recommendation comes with much concern on the effectiveness of the device.
The Neurological Devices Advisory Panel based its approval on Medtronic's study of 110 patients who failed to respond to at least three anti-epilepsy drugs. They were given the deep brain stimulation system, a pacemaker-shaped device which is implanted in the patient's chest. Wires from the device are threaded through the neck into the brain.
Half of the patients in the double-blind study had the device turned on, and half didn't.
The study failed to meet its primary efficacy goal, which was to demonstrate that patients implanted with the deep brain stimulator had significantly fewer seizures than those who received an inactive device after three months.
Such a narrow vote from an advisory committee is not generally considered an endorsement for a drug or device. The FDA doesn't have to follow the advice of its advisory committees, but it usually does.
Medtronic's deep brain stimulation device is already approved to treat other neurological disorders, including Parkinson's disease, and more than 6,000 people in the U.S. have had the device implanted in the past decade, according to FDA briefing documents.
Wednesday February 17, 2010
A recent study found that a ketogenic diet of high fat foods and few cardohydrates is an effective diet that has no long term effects on seizure patients.
Published in the journal Epilepsia, a group of researchers from John-Hopkins University Children's Center, treated 101 patients ages 2 to 26 years with the ketogenic diet for a minimum of 16 months and for up to eight years at Hopkins Children's between 1993 and 2008. At the time of the follow-up, patients were off the diet anywhere between eight months and 14 years. Nearly 80 percent of the patients remained either seizure-free or had their seizures reduced by half. Most patients' seizures did not worsen even years after stopping the diet.
"Despite its temporary side effects, we have always suspected that the ketogenic diet is relatively safe long term, and we now have proof," says senior investigator Dr. Eric Kossoff, a pediatric neurologist and director of the ketogenic diet program at Hopkins Children's. "Our study should help put to rest some of the nagging doubts about the long-term safety of the ketogenic diet," he adds.
The ketogenic diet is believed to trigger biochemical changes that eliminate seizure-causing short circuits in the brain's signaling system. Used as first-line therapy for infantile spasms and in children whose seizures cannot be controlled with drugs, the diet is highly effective but complicated and sometimes difficult to maintain. It can temporarily raise cholesterol, impair growth and, in rare cases, lead to kidney stones, among other side effects.
Saturday September 27, 2008
is a long-lasting neurological disorder that requires constant supervision and treatment. It is estimated that approximately 300,000 children and adolescents have epilepsy in the United States. Having any chronic medical condition - including epilepsy - has physical, psychological, emotional and financial impacts in both the child and their family. In this setting, emotional problems, such as depression and anxiety can also occur, and create a very poor quality of life if not properly addressed.
Depression is frequently seen in individuals with epilepsy. In fact, depression and suicide is higher in epileptic individuals compared to general population. A recent study indicates that depression can also extend to the child’s school performance. From the results of this study, children with epilepsy and depression did poorer in school compared to children without epilepsy.
Therefore, parents must be aware of their children’s school performance and frequently be in touch with their child’s teachers and healthcare provider. If needed, children with symptoms of depression must be evaluated immediately and treated in order to help their school performance – as well as enhance their quality of life.