I never had a clue what neuropsychology was all about. Although it sounded like a good idea.
Then a while ago, I had an assessment. (Mercifully, it was the two-hour test and not the 8-hour version.)
The neuropsychologist I went to had all the records of my last 12 years from my neurologist and it was clear he had done his homework.
The question was, did my deficit in memory come from my history of seizures, my previous concussions (one of which was only a month ago) or even age itself? (I thought to myself, geeze, I’m only 63!)
Here’s basically what happened…
You might be surprised to hear it, but according to recent research, epilepsy and diabetes have more in common than we thought.
The key commonality is fluctuating blood sugar. People with hyperglycemia tend to have focal or local seizures. And those who are hypoglycemic, tend to have tonic-clonic seizures…
At least one in every eight people with epilepsy also has depression.
Epilepsy can have different effects on memory functions and depression for various reasons.
Because the portion of the brain where memory and emotions are stored — the limbic system — can be disturbed by epileptic seizures.
In fact, memory problems are one of the most reported problems that coincide with epilepsy.
Just because you have a parent, sibling, cousin or aunt who has epilepsy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have it also.
In fact, if you have a close relative with epilepsy, the chance of you having epilepsy is only about 2-8%, depending on the specific type of epilepsy.
The risk in the general population is about 1-2%. On the other hand, there is a 92-98% chance for the close relative of someone with epilepsy to NOT have the same condition!
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?
Let’s be honest, you probably didn’t plan on having epilepsy.
But here we are. And we all know that stress is #1 in the hit parade of seizure triggers.
And endless surveys prove the fact. Most people think of stress as being related only to unpleasant or sad times in their lives.
However, even “happy” stress can trigger seizures!
Studies have now confirmed what some doctors have long suspected — many young people who are given the diagnosis of epilepsy (or seizure disorder) apparently don’t have epilepsy at all.
Instead, they have a condition known as syncope…
Syncope (sing’-koe-pee), the medical term for fainting, is the sudden loss of consciousness and physical collapse due to lack of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Heat is not our friend.
And it can trigger some pretty awful consequences.
Like the time I was gardening at high noon. (What was I thinking about?) I fell backwards, hitting my head on the walkway. And I couldn’t ask for help because I was out cold. Baking in the sun.
And I’m sure you have your own stories. About passing out, puking or just feeling like you’re as dizzy as if you were on a roller coaster ride.
Hormones generally don’t cause seizures but can influence if or when they happen.
Whether you’re a woman or a man, sex hormones can influence the excitability of nerve cells in the brain and thus influence seizure control.
Welcome to the world of ictals and postictals. A world you’re probably familiar with.
A seizure often has four distinct phases: Prodromal Symptoms, Auras, Ictal and Postictal Stages…