Epilepsy Talk

Dilantin — What People Are Saying…

November 13, 2018
8 Comments

When I was first diagnosed with epilepsy back in 1969, the availability of AEDs was limited.

Phenobarbital or Dilantin.

Pick your poison.

I chose Dilantin. It was not a pretty picture.


Dilantin — Hero or Horror?

November 12, 2018
13 Comments

Dilantin (Phenytoin) can be considered the grandfather of all epilepsy medications.

Although it was invented in 1908 as a chemical that could prevent convulsions during electroshock treatment, its popularity grew quickly, and as early as 1940, it was hailed as initiating a whole new epoch of anti-epilepsy drugs, motivating researchers to seek even more effective medications and pharmaceutical companies set up aggressive screening programs.

In the next two decades, a dozen new anticonvulsants were introduced into clinical therapy!

Today, Dilantin remains one of the most widely used drugs in the world.


Autoimmune Epilepsy — Cause of Previously Unexplained Seizures?

November 7, 2018
2 Comments

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are the mainstay of treatment for epilepsy, but seizures continue in one-third of patients despite appropriate AED therapeutic trials.

Even in the current era, the etiology of epilepsy often remains unclear.

Some patients with unexplained partial seizures which are medication resistant may have “autoimmune epilepsy” — epilepsy characterized by autoimmune antibodies.

Although autoimmune epilepsy is still rare, it’s become an increasingly recognized cause of epilepsy, which might have been previously thought to be of unknown cause.

What is the immune system and what are the types of immune disorders?


What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

November 4, 2018
18 Comments

What have you dreamed — or achieved — beyond your wildest dreams?


Celebrities Supporting Epilepsy

November 2, 2018
3 Comments

There are some people who don’t turn a deaf ear to what everyone else doesn’t want to hear. The phobic fear of epilepsy.

For example, Greg Grunberg is a true “Hero.” Not just as a TV star but also as the spokesperson for the Epilepsy Foundation of America. He is joined in his support by:

Harrison Ford of Star Wars fame, auctioned off his “The Force Awakens” signed one-of-a-kind leather jacket for $191,000 to benefit NYU’s non-profit Langone Medical Center in light of his daughter’s successful treatment. He is quoted as saying: “This is a cause near and dear to me.”


A Fallen Football Hero…

October 27, 2018
11 Comments

This is a story about life’s hard knocks. Literally.

It’s the story of former NFL Browns running back Jerome Harrison and how his occasional seizures, thought to be a result of concussions from the game, saved his life.


Memory games to boost your brain…

October 26, 2018
4 Comments

The problem I had writing this article was that I was having too much fun! I kept on getting detained playing games, but it was worth it. Some I did o.k. on, others I flunked miserably. They’re fun, they’re challenging, and I think you’ll really like them.

(A personal word of advice. Go to Games.com first. You’ll be hooked!)


Memory Tips You (Hopefully) Won’t Forget!

October 24, 2018
16 Comments

I have a confession to make.

I’m the queen of “Post-Its”. I have Post-Its on tables, counters, walls, doors. I don’t know how I lived without them.

I guess, in the “old” days, I was the same with lists. Many lists. And way too much Scotch Tape.

Factoid: The man who invented Post-Its was an employee at 3M (also the maker of Scotch Tape) who went to his boss with a bright new idea. I don’t know if he got a raise, but he gets no royalties. Just my undying admiration and thanks.

Anyway, short of taking stock in 3M, here are some other suggestions…


Epilepsy and Memory…

October 21, 2018
17 Comments

To say that lack of memory is a major worry for those of us with epilepsy is hardly a surprise.

In fact, it’s the number one concern.

Simply put, memory is our brain’s ability to store information and find it again later.

Chemical and electrical changes happen in your brain when new memories are made.

It’s a natural brain process that requires continuing attention and recording by parts of your brain.


Epilepsy And Complementary Medicine…

October 18, 2018
17 Comments

Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) is just what it sounds like. Something to complement the AED regimen you’re already on. And perhaps take an extra step (with your doctor’s go-ahead) to alleviate seizures.

There are lots of alternatives, so I’ll touch on the most popular ones here. (Somehow, I don’t think you’re going to be turning to stones or amulets for relief!)

Interestingly, The Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona did a survey and it revealed that half of the people with epilepsy had tried CAM at some time for seizure control. Almost half used them for other reasons.

Overall, people found CAM to be generally beneficial to their health. The most helpful were stress reduction, yoga, and botanicals (herbs). Nonetheless, half of the patients taking botanicals had an increase in their seizures.

One third of the patients felt that CAM helped treat their epilepsy better than the AED. However, very few patients considered stopping the AED. Almost all of the patients stated they would feel comfortable informing their physician about CAM use.

“Modern medical therapy often fails, yet modern medical therapy exists because complementary and alternative medicine often fails. Both sides have to recognize each other.”  Dr. Orrin Devinsky


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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