Epilepsy and depression often go hand-in-hand. Up to 50% of people who have epilepsy also experience depression at some point in their lives, and this greatly impacts upon their quality of life.
The highest frequency rate occurs in those patients with seizure disorders arising in the temporal or frontal lobes or who have poorly controlled epilepsy. And among TLE patients, those with a left temporal focus had higher depression severity than those with a right focus. A more recent study confirmed these findings and found that patients suffering from a complex partial seizure disorder were much more inclined to have depression, compared to those with generalized tonic-clonic seizures.
However, concern for the potential of certain antidepressants to induce seizures has led to under-treating depression and anxiety disorders in epilepsy patients.
The idea that we can implant a Star Trek-type device that will detect seizures and interrupt them without causing injury is entirely new. And exciting. And scary.
Especially for those people with epilepsy that have seizures that begin at one focal point in the brain, but aren’t appropriate for epilepsy surgery.
Some know it as non-epileptic seizures (NES), psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), or pseudoseizures. And then there’s epilepsy. Which is what?
The first Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) was implanted in 1988, as a therapeutic option for medically intractable epilepsy, when elective epilepsy surgery was not appropriate.
As the number of implanted vagus nerve stimulators grows, so does the need to remove or revise the devices.
How about a small electrical headset that works while you sleep and could help with major depression and severe epilepsy? (Especially epilepsy that does not respond to drugs alone.)
Say hello to the TNS. (Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation.)
When I was young, in the middle of the night, I’d have these horrible seizures.
I’d wake upright with the inside of my head spinning at about 100 miles per hour.
Clutching my head, I’d tear at my hair — anything to make it stop.
And eventually it did. And I slipped back to sleep. Terrified. Wondering when the next one would hit…
At the very best, finding the right anti-epilepsy drug is a crap shoot. There’s always the hope that this one will do it. Or maybe adjunct therapy will work. Or, sigh, the side-effects derail you and you’re on to the next. Is asking for seizure control too much?
The good news is that many newer AEDs are better tolerated than the older, standard AEDs. Although they, too, come with side-effects.
Newer AEDs often cause less sedation and require less monitoring than older drugs. Although they are generally FDA-approved for use as add-ons to standard drugs that have failed to control seizures, they are often prescribed as single drugs.
Specific choices usually depend on your particular condition and the specific side-effects of the AED.
None has emerged as being superior to either standard or newer drugs. All appear to offer some benefits, however, as with standard anti-seizure drugs, they all come with side-effects of their own.
But, until a cure for epilepsy is discovered, medical treatment is the only game in town. Unless you go for surgery or some of the newer intervention techniques.
What if you could predict an oncoming seizure in time for you stop it? Or even prevent it? That day may be coming sooner than you think, thanks to these seven new technologies.
You’ll learn what they are, how they work and how far along they are.
There’s a lot of new and exciting research going on — all over the world — about predicting and preventing seizures. The latest research combines scientists who excel in engineering, math, physics and technology in a dedicated collaborative effort.
And even though most the actual technology isn’t here yet, the future holds promise for us all…